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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opinion >  Guest Opinion

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By Debra Long, president; </p><p>Mysti Reneau, vice president; Cynthia McMullen, legislative representative; Keith Clark and Tom Dingus, board members Central Valley School District School Board Directors

To our Greater Central Valley School District Community:

We sincerely thank you for your enthusiastic support for Central Valley School District in the past and your continued support today. By working together, we have built new schools, remodeled schools and are working hard to create safe learning environments for all our students.

Together, we have managed to navigate some very challenging times, and today we acknowledge there are more difficult challenges ahead. We cannot lose sight of what all we accomplish when we work together to improve the quality of education for our children. As a school board of directors, our primary goal is to provide quality education while keeping our children physically and emotionally safe.

Over the past 18 months, the COVID-19 global pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges for all of our families, community and world. We applaud our teachers, administrators, and support staff who have gone above and beyond to help keep our children safe during this health emergency.

Your CVSD school board has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Central Valley community that we serve. We actively advocate for legislative priorities through the Washington State School Directors Association and Washington Association of School Administrators. We continually ask for control of decisions that should be made at the local school board level, especially through our annual legislative platform. We maintain direct contact with the Governor’s office and individual legislators, as well as working with such entities as the local and state Department of Health, to advocate for our entire community’s priorities.

We have heard from many in our community regarding the district’s response to the pandemic, and there are many differing opinions in the community as to how we should move forward in the coming school year. Some are advocating that we take positions which would violate the law, bring increased financial liabilities to our district, and jeopardize the safety of our students and staff.

As a board, we have a longstanding commitment to hear all the opinions within our community. Over the past several weeks we have received a number of emails, public comments and had personal conversations with many of you. While many are supportive of our actions and decisions, some are very critical and even threatening to us. As school boards and communities around our nation face the health and safety needs of our children, we are not unique in our divisions. However, what does make our community unique is what we can accomplish by working together.

Our commitment to our community regarding our responsibilities during this health emergency is to continue to work within the law and with the guidance of our state and local health professionals. We take our responsibility to provide a safe learning environment for each and every student very seriously, and this will remain our primary focus.

What makes our Central Valley community special is the strength of the individuals and families who reside here. We have a long history of working together for the greater good of our children. Our school board members bring different perspectives and backgrounds to our work, and yet we always have the ultimate priority of placing the needs of our children above any differences we may bring to the discussions. We have confidence that working cohesively will benefit our children far more than adversarial actions.

Whether our regular school board meetings are held in person or virtually, we will continue to welcome and encourage public comments in an orderly and respectful manner. We believe that if we continue to work together, we will build upon the successes of the past to provide a great future for our children.

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