State Readies to Threaten Richland After Board Votes “Masks Optional”
It apparently was not part of the official agenda, but the vote took place
Richland School Board votes 3-2 to go mask optional
Audra and Semi Bird, as well as Kari WIlliams, voted yes, while Rick Jansens and Board President Jill Oldson voted no.
The DIstrict sent out an abrupt email via the info-flash alert system simply saying the District would be closed Wednesday. Sources say it's to allow officials time to sort things out. The email was sent Tuesday evening.
State has already bullied two other Districts who voted mask optional
Both the Kittitas and Kettle Falls Districts voted to go mask optional. Kittitas a number of weeks ago, Kettle Falls earlier this week. In both cases the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction threatened to pull their funding if they went through with it.
Will lawsuit against SPI Reykdal play a role in this?
We reported late last week a lawsuit has been filed in Benton-Franklin County Superior Court against SPI Chris Reykdal, charging he violated the state Constitution and other laws by 'assigning himself' certain regulatory and enforcement powers, and indicating districts funding is contingent upon them following state mandates on masks and other COVID proclamations. However, the lawsuit says the SPI has no legal authority to affect, withhold or otherwise control funding that has been appropriated by the Legislature.
Sources indicate it's likely the OSPI will also tell RSD they have to comply or lose funding.
This appears to be the latest case of a district calling the state's bluff, as opposition to masks in schools continues to grow.