Voices

‘Simple fix’ ahead for Medical Lake High roof

Students may return to classes on Monday

Students at Medical Lake High School should return to class as early as Monday, according to Pam Veltri, superintendent of Medical Lake schools.

Veltri gave the Medical Lake City Council an update about the high school roof Tuesday night. The school was closed on Monday after consulting with a structural engineer about a crack in the ceiling and a broken weld on a steel rod used to support the domed roof over the cafeteria and library.

The school had been remodeled and modernized from 1996 to 1998, but the domed roof was left intact – part of the history of the school to keep for future generations.

On Tuesday, district officials met with engineers, contractors, architects and the district’s insurance company.

“It’s actually going to be a pretty simple fix,” Veltri said.

Doug Ross, city administrator, said the city really has no role in the fixing of the school, other than making sure a licensed structural engineer signs off on the project.

“The city’s just been really helpful,” Veltri said. She explained that the city police and fire department were instrumental in getting students out of the building Monday night when officials learned the roof was unsafe.

Veltri was also at the council meeting looking for support for the district’s maintenance and operations levy which will be on the ballot on the March 10 special election.

The three-year levy will replace the last levy the district passed in March 2006.

“We haven’t changed the rates since 1991,” Veltri said.

Taxpayers will pay the same amount – $1.75 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

“It’s not a new tax,” Veltri said. “In these economic times, we couldn’t ask our taxpayers to pay anymore,”

If the levy is passed, the district will be eligible to receive $1.4 million in state matching funds. The money would benefit the districts 2,100 students and 260 staff members. If the levy fails, the district will not receive the state funds.

She provided a chart listing the levies of many school districts in Spokane County. Medical Lake’s $1.75 is one of the county’s lowest levies, while West Valley’s taxpayers pay nearly $4.50 per $1,000 in assessed property value.

Veltri said the replacement levy will pay for books, instructional materials such as science kits, microscopes, petri dishes, all of the extra-curricular activities, athletic events and the pep band.

It also helps to pay for the transportation for after school programs and any maintenance the district may need.

“We got hit really hard these last couple of years with increased fuel costs,” she said. When the fuel prices went up, there was less money to spend on programs for the students in the district.

“I’m just asking that you support our levy,” Veltri said.

The council agreed and voted unanimously to support the election.

The next Medical Lake City Council meeting will be held Feb. 17 at 6:30 p.m.



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