The Washougal School District will likely have to eliminate all of its sports programs for the 2023-24 school year if voters knock down the district’s replacement levies in the April 23 special election.
“It’s pretty unthinkable, really,” said Eric Johnson, a basketball and track and field coach at Jemtegaard Middle School. “It almost seems like an impossibility. It’s unfathomable, something I never would’ve thought possible. But here we are.”
The elimination of Washougal School District’s athletic programs would “devastate” not only Washougal’s student-athletes, but the city’s sense of community pride, according to several coaches and parents interviewed by The Post-Record.
“The community needs to realize that 90% of these young people stay in their communities when they get out of school, so this isn’t just about education — it’s about the Washougal community,” said Johnson, an English teacher at Jemtegaard. “We want to develop citizens with strong character and integrity, and those things are fundamental aspects of student athletics. I would be devastated personally if we were to lose sports and the ability to connect to all of these kids.”
The district’s replacement educational program and operations and capital projects and technology levies, which would allow it to pay for not only athletics, but arts, technology and many other services not funded by state or federal governments, failed in February, earning 47% of the vote.