School board discusses construction, cuts
The construction of the Blaine school district�s new administration building and several program cuts were on the table during the school board�s meeting on Monday, August 25.
The district is preparing for the construction of the new administration building, which will be built on the corner of H Street and Mitchell Avenue. District architect John Stewart asked the board at the meeting to authorize advertising for bids on the project.
Stewart told board members that contract documents were ready and would be available to contractors September 2. Bids would be opened by September 18 with a May 1 occupation. Stewart anticipates the 5,000 square foot building will cost about $550,000.
In separate business, the board was greeted by a delegation of parents from Point Roberts who were upset with the board�s June decision to cut the turnout bus, which brings students home after sports and other afterschool activities. The budget cut was one of a number of programs eliminated or curtailed to make up for a million-dollar funding shortfall from the state.
Point Roberts parent Renee Coe chastised the board, saying parents should not have to learn about the cuts by reading about them in The Northern Light. �I am concerned that parents are out of the loop,� she said. Coe went on to say cutting the turnout bus posed special disadvantages to students and parents on the Point. She added parents would be required to drive for an hour and a half through two borders at dinner time five days a week.
Jim Hammer, another parent who works and lives on the Point, pointed out that the district currently uses two full-size buses and the turnout bus to take students to school in the morning and asked how the district expected to carry the same number of students with less capacity. �Why not just have the turnout bus go later as usual,� he asked.
District superintendent Dr. Mary Lynne Derrington told the board she would confer with district transportation supervisor Carl Wagelie to examine the issue. Board members Mike Dodd and Barrie Hull both said they had not thought the turnout bus cutback had applied to Point Roberts. �Point Roberts is an unique situation,� Dodd said.
Athletic director Gary Clausen advised the board that he had been involved in budget discussions with then�superintendent Dr. Gordon Dolman and they had no intentions to cut the Point Roberts bus.
A solution to another program due to be cut may be in sight, however. The board approved a resolution to create a co-operative tennis program with the Lynden school tennis program. The agreement has to be ratified by the Lynden school board but, if approved, would mean that the Blaine tennis team could be instructed by Lynden coaches and play with their team under Blaine colors. Clausen said he expected two or three players to take advantage of the program if approved.