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The time is now for top GCDSD leadership to step up


Last updated 1/20/2021 at 8:21am

Whether you’re a local CEO of an organization, business owner and/or a community member, I’m thankful for many of you who’ve been appreciative of the thoughts I’ve shared about our local school district. I’m especially thankful that most of you know me and realize how much I care and how hard it was for me to finally say something. School district officials are ignoring current reality when they keep informing people that issues can be resolved by following the chain of command. This has not been working for quite a while. Also, blaming funding inequities for the GCDSD fiscal challenges is irresponsible. Our local school district is losing staff, students and yes votes, but more generally it is losing citizen confidence and respect.

The latest additional levy request from our school district was unnecessary and should have never happened, especially during the pandemic. Voters are smart and only one of the counties involved approved this request. Overall, it passed by just 2%. So now per $1,000 of our assessed property values there will be an additional $1.00 collected along with the $2.50 we’re already paying for the previous base levy request. I’d shared earlier in The Star that I thought we were paying for another ballot measure. After research, I discovered that on top of all of this our local school district is also collecting another $1.70 for Capital Projects from us. This comes to a total of $4.20 per $1,000 of assessed property value from the voters involved. This is outrageous, unacceptable and unbelievable spontaneous management instead of quality leadership.

Once again, as a reminder, our local school district also gets Federal Impact Aid funds since it has a limited tax base along with other state and federal income sources.

Due to extensive, preventive, pre-planning that has taken years, the Wellpinit School District and many other districts are adjusting and living within their means by making just a $1.50 levy work no matter district size. As superintendent of the Wellpinit School District this is the only request I’ve had for our voters’ fiscally and I’m sure they appreciate not being asked for $2.70 per $1,000 more. Check your property taxes and notice the huge difference. The GCDSD ballot measures are almost three times higher.

Locally, we’ll have a choice when most or all of the Grand Coulee Dam fiscal requests are on our ballots again. Hopefully, we’ll see some serious actions taken in the GCDSD towards responsible fiscal accountability, which should have started long ago. For me, as one voter, I will vote no unless I see our local district live within its means fiscally. This type of creative oversite needs to occur:

Administration significantly downsized with a superintendent/principal combo position.

Focus on big ticket items not the low hanging fruit.

Other Systems downsized to match up closer with funding. Now, when employees are leaving their positions, they continue to be filled. A Reduction-In-Force, attrition and other measures need to be followed.

Reward loyalty and longevity, combine part time help into full time jobs. Have a growth mindset, train our own expertise and limit outside expenses. These expenses limit funds for necessary employees.

Overall there needs to be fewer employees with a broader skill set who can successfully multitask. These are just a few progressive fiscal changes as a starting point for the GCDSD. These changes are very challenging, but our local school district must stop this fiscal roller coaster ride and quit asking for handouts. The district needs to establish and adhere to a stable fiscal plan that is sound and sustainable well into the future. If the GCDSD doesn’t get this overspending resolved, the voters will eventually.

I know from experience as a principal for 19 years and a superintendent for longer than that, that this is possible because I’m over seeing a school district that is making progress with just one ballot measure request of $1.50 per $1,000. We have not cut programs, sports or other options for kids.

I hope these thoughts lead to major changes for the better – enough is enough!

John M. Adkins


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