P.O. Box 98 ~ 344 W. Beach Street
Pateros, WA 98846
April 23, 2010
The Honorable Christine Gregoire
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 40002
Olympia, Washington 98504-00002
Dear Governor Gregoire:
I am writing to urge you to veto ESSB 6444 Part V Education Sec. 501 (1) (b) (i through iv). I want to share one
individual school district’s story. Each district is unique, and has its own story. School consolidation is not a simple topic
that can be quickly analyzed by people removed from the local settings
The heart of the Pateros community is found in the school. We celebrate 4th and 5th generation graduates whose families
are deeply rooted in our community. Pateros is an award winning school district that is small, rural and remote and has a
67% poverty rate. In March we were recognized as one of the 2009 Washington Achievement Award winning schools for
overall excellence and extended graduation. We have earned awards over a number of years for academics, the arts,
health and fitness and in extracurricular events. A number of students have received Gate’s Grants over the years, and we
have a solid percentage of students completing college and pursuing the trades. Students and teachers work hard and have
high standards. Alumni return to work and live in Pateros so their kids can carry on the tradition of excellence that our
school demands. Consolidating our school district with others nearby would destroy the traditional fabric of our
community thus eliminating the draw for young talent and new growth. The consolidated school would have little draw to
the next generation.
I am impressed with the hard work that occurred in closing this year’s legislative session. It is evident that you, the
senate, and the house took into consideration the recent court ruling to honor our constitution’s paramount duty to amply
fund education for all students. While the budgets are tight and the needs continue to exist we have a fighting chance to
continue to offer quality public education in Pateros with the budget we have been given.
In this tough fiscal time Pateros did increase the levy support in our last M&O Levy. The school is one of the best
stabilizing components and businesses in our community. Consolidating the Pateros School District with neighboring
communities would centralize our region at the cost of decentralizing our community. After seeking public input and
researching the concept of consolidation with that of neighboring districts the resounding conclusion was that it would
have a negative impact on not only student learning, but also on the fiscal well being of the Pateros community.
Again, school consolidation is not a simple topic that can be quickly analyzed by people removed from the local settings.
Our local and state economy is directly affected by the health of our communities. The majority of the schools that would
be considered for consolidation are in rural and remote areas. We need to examine the fiscal impact on communities and
the direct impact on student learning. It is critical that deep analysis takes place on a local level. Holding public hearings
on the specific schools impacted is imperative. We must have an adequate understanding of the consequences of this type
of sweeping legislation. Pateros and other communities like it could easily join the long list of dying towns with boarded
up buildings and rising unemployment found through rural America.
Veto this last minute addition to ESSB 6444 because it is fiscally unhealthy for our district and our state.
Lois A. Davies
Board of Directors: Michael Bruno, Grace Larsen, LaDonna Mattson, Marty Robinson, and Marc Armstrong
The Pateros School District is an equal opportunity employer and complies with all federal and state employment laws.
Title IX, Section 504 ADA compliance ofﬁcer is Lois A. Davies. Phone (509) 923-2751 extension 4.