Edmonds School Board votes to request waiver days to accommodate professional development

In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, the Edmonds School Board agreed to request from the State Board of Education a five-day waiver request from the 180-day school year requirement. According to the resolution, if approved the five waived days would give the district flexibility for additional professional development time for staff.

Following up on a request made at a previous school board meeting, District Executive Director of Business and Operations Stewart Mhyre presented to board a list of unused pieces of district-owned property.

The district currently has more than 30 acres of land that it does not use—but it is split up into several pieces of property varying in size from 3.3 acres to 10 acres. Snohomish County has expressed interest in purchasing the smallest property, which is off 224th Street Southwest near Esperance Park (located in unincorporated Snohomish County but surrounded by the City of Edmonds). However, no negotiations have begun, Mhyre said.

Just north of Beverly Elementary School is a 9.4-acre site, which Mhyre estimated might be big enough for a small elementary school that is “a little tight on the field size.” The property is fully treed and is zoned for single-family homes.

Directly south of Lynnwood High School is a 9.5-acre piece of property shaped like an L. However, high-tension power lines run across the south side per a utility company easement. School buildings can’t be built beneath the wires, so Mhyre estimates that four to five acres are unusable.

An irregularly shaped piece of land that also belongs to the district lies near Martha Lake. This 8.9-acre parcel has had issues with squatters in the past, and the odd shape makes it difficult to assess how useful it could be for the district.

The most promising of the inventory is a 10-acre square site around Chase Lake bog. Although it is a good shape and size, there is also the bog that it is named for located right in the middle of it.

“That would be an interesting piece of property to have a real estate agent consultant take a look at and decide what you could do with it,” Mhyre said.

Later in the meeting, Mhyre brought up a potential change in the district’s field trip procedure. Right now, the school district has a secondary insurance policy that would cover a student who was injured on a field trip. However, Mhyre used the example of a student falling off a bench at the Woodland Park Zoo — in most cases, the places that students go on a field trip have their own liability insurance that covers the same costs this secondary insurance would cover.

When the insurance was first purchased eight years ago, it was not particularly expensive. Now, it costs the district about $30,000 per year to have. In the eight years it has been in place, not a single claim has been made against this insurance.

During board member comments, Mountlake Terrace High School’s student advisor, William Khadivi, congratulated his school’s newspaper, The Hawkeye, which had six staff members win Journalism Education Awards during a conference in Boston on Nov. 17.

– By Natalie Covate

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1 Comment

  1. I have to question the 5 day waiver request to the 180 day requirement. As a country we lag behind many others in the education of our children. As it is, our children our in school less and less every year, it seems. While I understand that the teachers deserve prof development, I think their contract should be adjusted to allow for this at times that doesn’t cost our children valuable class learning time. I have also read that these days save the district money and in the age of shrinking educational dollars, I can’t help but wonder if this doesn’t play into this approval. We haven’t been an agricultural economy for years, so I don’t know why the school year couldn’t be extended to accommodate these professional days. Our children’s educational momentum is constantly being broken up by days off, numerous holidays, and the unnecessarily long summer break.

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