Madrona family members spoke their minds at Tuesday’s School Board meeting.
Those who spoke were universally upset that the new Madrona K-8 building, located at 9300 236th St. S.W., is not expected to open for fall 2018 as originally planned because of a disagreement between the Edmonds School District and the Olympic View Water and Sewer District (OVWSD) over the site’s stormwater treatment plans.
Earlier this week, Edmonds School District officials released a statement saying they are moving forward with plans to relocate Madrona to the old Alderwood Middle School site until the new Madrona building can be opened. OVWSD released its own statement saying a proposal submitted June 21 was acceptable, but a revised proposal submitted June 25 was not.
Madrona families were unhappy with what OVWSD disclosed.
“I will not accept that you nearly made it to the finish line and gave up,” said Katy Waymire of Edmonds. “Tell us why you withdrew an acceptable agreement.”
Lynne Danielson, general manager of OVWSD, also spoke.
“The emails you sent out last night only tell part of the story,” she said. “Last night (June 25), we basically said okay, we can’t agree to what’s there because everything had been gutted and referred to the Department of Ecology.
“We are certified to test water. That’s what we do. The Department of Ecology is responsible for the quality of the water that goes into the ground.”
She said OVWSD runs between 300-600 tests on water a year, and so has specific analytics that they want to see before agreeing to provide water to Madrona.
“Our goal is to get them in the new school, get water to it, and we’re asking for your understanding that we can’t agree to something we haven’t even seen,” she added
Melia Plumus, an eighth grader at Madrona, said she would need to drop some of her extracurricular activities with the added commute, or make other changes.
“Madrona has been my school for eight years, and I intend to finish at that campus,” she said. “If I have to go to Alderwood Middle, I may need to transfer schools, which is not something that I want to do.”
She said she and her classmates have been excitedly watching the new building get built.
“I was promised this school years ago, and that’s all we’ve been thinking about as we watched the younger kids enjoy their recess in what looks like a prison yard,” due to the construction, she said. “It’s basically a parking lot with a fence around it.”
Maura Do, of Edmonds, said she understands both parties are in a tough spot and she respects the school district and OVWSD.
“But I have to tell us, you have failed us,” she said. “You have failed the students, teachers and taxpayers. Why are you not in a room right now working this out?”
She added that communication from the district has not been transparent, and in her opinion, there were multiple times that the district could have engaged Madrona families before now.
“We want clean water. That is not an unreasonable ask,” she said, adding that they also want their students in the new building.
After about a dozen community members spoke, Superintendent Kris McDuffy responded.
“We hear you and we empathize,” she said. “This is the last place any of us wanted to find ourselves tonight.”
She said a previous offer for mediation and other meetings were declined, which she described as “difficult to understand.”
“Offers were exchanged in what we thought were good faith efforts to get to resolution, but unfortunately, not all issues were on the table. Therefore, what appeared to be a change at the last minute was our inability to look fully at what was on the table,” McDuffy continued.
She said she will continue working on this issue, along with the district’s capital projects team and consultants.
“We have just not yet been able to reach a reasonable resolution in which these elected officials (the school board) and myself as your superintendent could justify,” she said. “We will continue to do everything we can to look at possible solutions. The primary goal is to get our students and staff into that school as soon as possible. That’s been the goal all along.”
–Story and photo by Natalie Covate