es 509.421.1009 P.O. Box 98 ~ 344 W. Beach Street nt firstname.lastname@example.org Pateros, WA 98846 n nager bach April 23, 2010 ve Assistant 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. Sincerely, Lois A. Davies Superintendent 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.
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