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March School Board Meeting Highlights

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Here are some of the highlights from the March 25, Ephrata School Board meeting. Members of the public are always welcome to attend board meetings. Click for a list of meeting dates and times, board agendas and other information


The school board recognized and congratulated Aaron Cummings on being selected as the next assistant superintendent for the school district.

Defeasance of the Remaining 2019 Bond Dollars
Through approval of Resolution 2023-2024-5, the board directed staff/consultants to defease, or set aside and invest the state match dollars that remain from the district’s 2019 bond. This action follows a public hearing in late 2023 where the board solicited public opinion on this action. Staff/consultants will now work with U.S. Bank Trust Company who will assist with the legal process. 

Ephrata taxpayers will save roughly $8.1 million in taxes over 15 years as a result of this process. Defeasance provides the Ephrata School District the ability to stop taxing Ephrata taxpayers for the portion of the defeased bonds ( $0.16/$1,000 to $.48/$1,000 depending on the year). The earliest this can occur is December 2028, when the 2019 bond becomes callable.

Approve Receipt of $150,000 Career Preparation and Launch Grant
The Ephrata School District was recently awarded $150,000 through the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Career Preparation and Launch Grant. This grant funding assists school districts with the purchase and installation of Career and Technical Education (CTE) equipment that expands career connected learning and work-integrated learning opportunities. Funding will support the Ephrata High School Health Sciences Program as well as the Agriculture / Welding Program. 


Image of a vertical table showing a human body

Antomage Table

Purchase of an Anatomage Table for EHS

The board approved the purchase of an advanced virtual dissection table for anatomy education. This life size table will allow Career and Technical Education (CTE) Health Science students access to ultra-high quality visualizations of realistic anatomical structures and the ability to perform virtual dissections. Approximately $100,000 of the $113,649 total expenditure, which includes the table and a four-year extended warranty, comes from the OSPI Career Preparation and Launch Grant Program. The remaining dollars will be funded through the district’s CTE budget.  


New Augmented Reality Welding System for EHS
The board approved the purchase of new welding equipment for Ephrata High School. The AugmentedArc Reality Welding System provides highly realistic welding simulations for beginning to advanced welding students. This purchase will provide tools and curriculum that will simulate multiple welding processes, blending real-world and computer-generated images into a unique, augmented reality environment. All funding for the $28,162 system comes from the OSPI Career Preparation and Launch Grant Program. The system will be purchased from A-L Compressed Gasses of Moses Lake.


Purchase of a Farmbot for EMS

Farmbot in a garden

Farmbot Robot

Utilizing $5,000 of CTE Perkins Reserve Grant funds, the district will purchase a Farmbot for Ephrata Middle School. This farming robot can perform almost all farming processes, prior to harvesting, that include sowing, mechanical weed control and watering while accounting for factors such as age of the plant and local weather conditions. The robot will be used in the new EMS Greenhouse, which was approved by the board in November 2023. Installation of the Greenhouse is expected to begin in May 2024. The greenhouse was purchased with CASE Grant funding awarded to Ephrata Schools in late 2023.

E-Rate Purchases Approved
The board authorized purchase of network equipment, including network analysis, switches and wireless access points with Wi-Fi 7 capabilities. The Ephrata School District will utilize E-Rate to make this purchase. E-Rate is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program that helps schools and libraries secure access to affordable, discounted telecommunications systems. Based on the percentage of students that qualify for the National School Lunch Program, the Ephrata School District  is eligible for an 80 percent discount on these expenses. While the original cost for this equipment totals $273,606, Ephrata Schools will pay $54,721 for this equipment.

Note: At the conclusion of Sarah Vasquez’s and Scott Sanberg’s presentations, the School Board thanked them for their hard work and leadership to bring in significant dollars that translate into learning and opportunity for our students.

Monthly Financial Report 
Each month, Allison Razey, the Director of Business and Finance, provides a report on the financial health of the district. Items of note:
Ephrata Schools saw record attendance of 2,620 full-time equivalent (FTE)* students during 2019-2020. Those numbers dipped to a low of 2,552 in 2020-2021 during the pandemic. Enrollment rebounded to nearly the 2019-2020 numbers. Ephrata Schools recorded 2,619.24 in FTE students in February 2024.

*FTE is a calculation that translates student credit hours into an equivalent number of full-time, full-year students.

The board recognized the generosity of community members that recently made donations to the district. By policy, the school board must approve any donation of money, materials or equipment having a value of $500 or more. Our sincere thanks go out to:

  • Tiger Boosters for the $5,000 donation towards the purchase of windscreens for the high school tennis courts. The District will fund the remaining balance of this nearly $12,000 project. The new screens are expected to be installed in April.
  • The Friends of Carla Jo Pheasant for their donation of 128 brand new books, valued at $785. These books will be split between the Columbia Ridge and Parkway Intermediate Libraries. The donation is in memory of Carla Jo Pheasant, who was a longtime 2nd grade teacher at Grant Elementary and 6th grade Parkway Intermediate School. 

Donations are still being collected. If you would like to contribute, please email Marilyn Willauer at

A group of people stand in a grey room holding childrens books

L to R (Front Row): Ephrata School District Superintendent, Tim Payne; School Board Director, Anita Waller, Marilyn Willauer, Kathy Flannery and Roger Cobb representing the Friends of Carla Pheasant

L to R (Back Row): Ephrata School Board Directors, Josh Sainsbury, Jim Adams and Mike Fleurkens