Port, city officials proclaim support for Washougal School District

Port commissioner: ‘Strong school systems vital to attracting businesses’

Screenshot by Doug Flanagan/Post-Record Washougal City Manager David Scott holds a copy of the City's resolution supporting the Washougal School District during a workshop session on Monday, March 27.

The city of Washougal and Port of Camas-Washougal have issued proclamations of support for the Washougal School District, which is preparing to eliminate more than 200 staff positions, extracurricular activities and a variety of educational programs and services if its replacement levy requests fail later this month for a second time.

The proclamations do not specifically mention the school district’s replacement levies but, rather, highlight the value of the relationships the City and Port have developed with the local school district.

Washougal City Council members approved a resolution of support during their meeting on Monday, April 10.

“There are a number of recitals (in the resolution) that talk about the importance of a strong school district in our city and the importance of our continuing strong partnership with the district, including the George Schmidt ballfields, which is a great project on property owned by the school district that they’ve made available to the community for us to operate,” City Manager David Scott said during a council workshop session on Monday, March 27. “The resolution basically acknowledges that a strong district is vital to the success of our community and that our partnership is important, and that we express our support.”

The resolution states that the WSD was the first public school district to file with the Clark County Commissioners in 1852, “and ever since that time, it’s been a cornerstone in our community,” Scott said during the Council’s meeting on Monday, April 10.

Several council members spoke in favor of the resolution and the WSD during the meeting.

“To this day, I don’t think my oldest granddaughter would have graduated from high school had she stayed in Las Vegas,” councilwoman Molly Coston said. “Washougal (schools) gave her the kick that she really needed for self-confidence and socialization, (and helped her to) understand how academia works and how to succeed. Whether I have (relatives) in the school district or not, I’ll always support public education for that reason, because it shapes young people.”

Port commissioners approved a resolution of support during their meeting on Wednesday, April 5, citing the importance of strong schools in attracting future employers to east Clark County.

“At its heart, the Port is an economic development organization, and there is really nothing more important to economic development than education,” Port Commissioner John Spencer said during the meeting. “That’s where it all starts. I think this is an important resolution, and I’m very glad to support it.”

Port Commissioner Cassi Marshall, a former WSD employee, said “strong school systems are vital to attracting businesses to the area.”

“I think the way that the Port looks at our future generation is that with our industrial park, we need a well-rounded workforce,” commissioner Larry Keister added. “We need students that have the ability to work together, problem-solve and follow instructions, and from team sports and other extracurricular activities, those skills are learned. It’s really important for the future of our community that we have well-rounded students so they can stay here and have a career where they’ve grown up and where their family is. I think that the resolution is very important to support our schools and the future of Port employees.”

WSD Superintendent Mary Templeton expressed “gratitude” to City and Port leaders during the Washougal School Board’s meeting on Tuesday, April 11.

“We have identified that a strong school district is what draws folks to Washougal,” she said. “We are an educational destination. It’s a wonderful place to live and to raise a family, and the school district is at the center of ensuring that our future citizens are prepared to become strong neighbors, strong business owners, strong entrepreneurs, strong civic leaders, and also ensure that we have a high quality of life. We know that it’s possible, and it’s really clear that the (efforts of) in the Port and the City are important for this coalition (to succeed).”