White River takes step to protect student safety

The White River School District put student safety at the forefront during its Dec. 14 meeting when it approved an outline for safe student walking areas and hazard zones.

Human resources and transportation directors Keith Banks and Randy Gregg have spent months ironing out a plan that brings attention to the district’s school walking routes.

According to Gregg, Washington state provides guidelines that recommend a 1-mile walking zone for school, but in Buckley many of those roads are too narrow for students to walk, do not have shoulders or sidewalks, have heavy traffic and are not lit. Students should not be allowed to cross state Route 410, the report said.

“Safety is most important,” he said.

In the past, the district did not receive funding for students it transported within the walking radius, even if it was not safe. But, naming those areas as hazard zones may help the district get some of those funding dollars back.

About 250 students fall into the area.

Gregg and Banks are also working on grant options that would erect signs and beacons to help in some of those areas.

PTAs also reviewed the information.

In other business, the board:

• swore in Jean Lacy and Susan McGuire as board members. Lacy, who has served on the board 12 years, and McGuire, 16 years, ran unopposed for their seats in November.

• elected Denise Vogel to serve another term as president. McGuire will serve as vice president. Lacy will continue as the board’s legislative representative and Mike Jansen was re-elected as the WIAA representative.

• announced its next board meeting 6 p.m. Jan. 11.

• were updated on changes to graduation requirements. White River High School Principal Mike Hagadone and Dean of Students Greg Benjamin presented the board with updated information regarding state requirements and end of course exams to earn a high school diploma. The changes will affect this year’s freshman class and the incoming freshman, today’s current eighth-grade students.

• approved a leave of absence for teacher Kristy Kuraspediani.

• accepted letters of resignation from custodian Marilyn Garner, teacher Kim Main and career information specialist Melissa Miler.

• hired Leah Borgerding, a physical therapist, education assistant Angela Donovan, and Valerie Johnsen, long term substitute teacher.