Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

New levy, board member and re-opening plan in Medical Lake


Last updated 12/3/2020 at 12:30pm

MEDICAL LAKE—The school board unanimously approved a new replacement levy at its Nov. 24 meeting with an assessed value of $1.50 per $1,000 assessed property value. The levy, which would replace the current levy that’s around $1.38 per $1,000 assessed property value, moves to a public vote on Feb. 9, 2021.

The total levy collection is what Medical Lake taxpayers will be voting on, with the $1.50 figure being an educated guess based on local property value and projected growth, superintendent Tim Ames confirmed.

“We’re asking for a specific dollar amount,” Ames said.

The total levy would be $1,385,117 in 2021 to be collected in 2022, $1,523,629 in 2022 to be collected in 2023 and $1,675,992 in 2023 to be collected in 2024.

Ames and finance director Chad Moss said the levy is important for the district to receive levy equalization allocation from the state.

“For every dollar taxpayers pay, we get roughly $1.50 back,” Moss said. “We’re trying to maximize our state dollars.”

If the full levy isn’t paid, the state penalizes the district and takes away from their levy equalization allocation.

New board member

The Nov. 24 meeting was the first for new board member Wendy Williams-Gilbert, who was sworn into her position via Zoom by board president Rod Von Lehe.

Williams-Gilbert replaces Peggy Schweikhardt, who resigned in October after 31 years on the board.

“She has children in our district, and had a great interview,” Ames said of Williams-Gilbert. “She’s very qualified.”

Plan for return-to-school released

The district released a new plan for phasing students back to in-person learning. The new plan detailed when all grade levels would return; currently, only preschoolers through second graders have any form of in-person learning, aside from special populations such as special-needs children or those without reliable Internet access.

Third graders will return Dec. 7 to Hallett and Michael Anderson Elementary schools. After winter break, fourth and fifth graders will return in-person Jan. 11. These grades will be full-time in-person at Michael Anderson and in a hybrid model at Hallett, due to more space available for physical distancing protocols at the former.

Middle schoolers and high schoolers will return to in-person learning in a hybrid model Feb. 1. Endeavors currently has students attending in-person either in the morning or afternoon.

“We currently have students and staff in our schools and have conducted multiple contact tracings,” Ames said. “I am pleased to announce we are doing extremely well in mitigating the spread of COVID in our schools.”

Drew Lawson can be reached at


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