Nespelem School OKs agreement with GCD schools


Last updated 6/7/2023 at 12:14pm

Nespelem community members attend Nespelem School's eighth-grade promotion ceremony in the school gym June 1, the first time the school has had the ceremony inside since 2019, following the end of the COVID health emergency. - Scott Hunter photo

The Nespelem School board Monday OK'd an agreement with the Grand Coulee Dam School District to split the federal Impact Aid money received in the 2023-24 school year for Nespelem students, with 75% going to the GCD district, and 25% going to Nespelem, both for K-8 students and for older students who would normally transfer to Grand Coulee Dam for high school.

The two districts have been in negotiations on a new "tuition agreement" the federal Dept. of Education said was needed to make the sharing legal, even though the districts have been doing it under an agreement reached in the 1990s.

The vote was 2-1, with director Anna Vargas voting no. Vargas said she disagreed with the sharing arrangement for "choice" students from Nespelem who go to school at Coulee Dam.

She thought the larger district had not honored an earlier agreement reached for this year.

She also said the other district had not consulted on coordinating the two district's calendars for the year, even after the two boards had agreed to do so.

Nespelem is starting up a high school next school year, adding one grade at a time, aiming to serve students in a classroom with courses taken online, with a teacher in the room to help, and a career and technical education (CTE) program to be developed in cooperation with the Colville Tribes.


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