YAKIMA, Wash. — The Yakima School Board on Tuesday unanimously approved about $1.3 million for nursing and policing services and plumbing at two schools.
Council members authorized expenditures of approximately $411,000 to upgrade deteriorated water pipes at Garfield and McKinley elementary schools. Associate Superintendent Scott Izutsu said the two facilities are the last of the oldest schools to have water lines replaced. In order to reduce costs, the new pipes will be installed above ground, either in the ceilings or in the walls. The old pipes were underground.
Superintendent Jack Irion said the projects, which are due to be completed this summer, are unrelated to testing schools’ water supplies for lead and other contaminants, which are underway.
The board also unanimously approved resolutions regarding additional nursing services and the renewal of the district’s contract with the Yakima police for school resource officers. The district will spend approximately $240,000 on additional nursing services for special education students requiring individual attention. The contract is with Yakima-based Kinderhafen, a home for medically fragile children.
The district’s contract with the Yakima police is approximately $632,000. School Resource Officers have been with Yakima schools since 1995. One officer is assigned to each of the four middle schools and three high schools, and some of the officers audit all 14 elementary schools.
While Tuesday’s meeting included a review and discussion of the district’s proposed $205 million 2016-17 budget — the largest in its history — the board likely won’t vote on the budget until August. Council members learned, however, that the proposed budget includes $4.5 million for a planned renovation of the performing arts wing at Davis High School. The first phase of the project would include the construction of new classrooms for bands and orchestras. A remodel of the school’s auditorium would come during a later phase. The architects should soon deliver the renderings of the project.
The four board members present – Martha Rice, John Vornbrock, Don Davis and Graciela Villanueva – did not offer an opinion on the budget. Council member Raymond Navarro was absent.
After the meeting, Rice said the board is committed to supporting Davis and his arts department.
“It was a promise we made to the community,” she said.