Tag Archive for: Camas School District

Bamini Pathmanathan is running for Camas School Board, District 4 position. She was appointed by the School Board earlier this year to fill the vacancy of Doug Quinn, who resigned to work as Camas City Administrator. She is running for a full four-year term. Pathmanathan answered several Lacamas Magazine questions, and here are her answers.

Why are you running for school board? 

Quality education is the cornerstone of a strong community, and why many of us chose Camas as the place we call home. I am a dedicated advocate for high-quality education and am passionate about our Camas community, as demonstrated by my work on the Camas School Board, the Camas Educational Foundation, the Prune Hill PTA, and the hours I have spent in my children’s classrooms. I am committed to supporting positive impacts for students in our schools, ensuring an exceptional learning environment and enhancing the experience for all students. 

A positive, outstanding, and quality educational experience teaches our students to enjoy learning and empowers them to achieve their goals. It is said that “it takes a village” to raise and educate our children. I understand, first hand, the importance of education, experience of caring teachers and a system that wants every child to succeed. Excitement and apprehension intertwined as I embarked on a new chapter in my life as a young immigrant child, starting in a fifth grade classroom filled with children speaking a language I could not comprehend. I came to this country knowing “Hello, my name is Bamini” and the entire alphabet with the letter “Z” pronounced as “zat.” I was assigned a classmate to be my “guide,” to be my voice. Both my sister and I were provided an educator over the summer and extra help with reading and writing to get us to grade level. We required more and they saw our needs. We were also children of immigrant parents, who were trying to navigate life in this foreign land and provide for their children. The system did not fail us because of the dedicated teachers and the kindness of the community. I have experienced the struggles and isolation that children should not have to experience. In our household, we uphold the value of contributing to the community. When the community gives to you, paying it forward is not just a choice but a heartfelt obligation. It was due to the support from the school and the community that led to our success. 

I understand the importance of a collaboration between the citizens of our community, the school board and district is integral to every student’s success. I believe in being a part of collaborative decision-making processes, with input from our community, our teachers, our students, and outside experts, as needed, to support a positive and successful direction for our district. I want to be a part of a team that helps every student find their success. 

What are your priorities, should voters elect you, over the next four years? 

Adequate funding for our schools is required to ensure quality education and to ensure all students are successful and have their needs met. The goal is to have a sustainable financial foundation that supports the diverse needs of all students and educators. School districts and board members need to advocate for sufficient and equitable funding, particularly at the state level, where over 80 percent of our funding comes from. Working with our legislators is vital to the Camas district’s financial stability and success. The state funding formula aims to ensure a basic standard of education for all districts; however, it is not enough to provide the level of support and teaching on which Camas prides itself and desires for its students in the future. Overall health, including social, emotional, and mental health, of each student will always remain a priority. 

The school board is ultimately responsible for approving budgets. Why do we keep running deficits, and how would you approach the budget should you be re-elected? 

The last few years have been a perfect storm – a worldwide pandemic, slower enrollment growth, and a state funding model change, which negatively affected the money we receive per student compared to previous years and was inadequate to support the structure of the existing Camas educational system. While the school board is responsible for approving the final budget, the school budget goes through various phases before it lands in the hands of the board. As assessments of educational needs and priorities of the district are evaluated, revenue projections are established using state and federal funding, local taxes, and other sources of revenue. Transparency and effective communication with stakeholders are also established to ensure that the budget reflects the priorities of the school community. As a member of the Camas School Board, I intend to continue to work cooperatively with the Camas community, Superintendent, and staff to find creative solutions and commit to advocating on behalf of the District with state legislators. I will continue this important work with the support of this community. 

Many voters blame the school board for the tone of the recent labor negotiations. They say you set a negative tone and drove a wedge between teachers and parents. How do you respond to that? 

Negotiations can take a toll on the community and can cause disharmony. Finding a balance that satisfies both parties, with consideration of their respective needs and concerns can be emotionally taxing. However, through this arduous process, neither of the bargaining teams lost focus on what matters most to all of us, the students. There were lessons learned from this experience by both parties, particularly around proper communication with the community and each other. The district and CEA bargaining teams are currently engaging in an after-action review process, and I support their goal of reflecting on what went right and wrong in order to learn from this experience. It’s this collaboration that will help us return to a negotiating process in two years that more resembles the tone of previous rounds of bargaining. I believe continuing to have open communication, addressing concerns proactively, and analyzing the impact are essential to mending broken relationships and trust. Our community and our kids are watching, and we have shown we can learn and grow as one unified school district. 

Regarding school safety, would you support more School Resource Officers in our schools? If not, what other things should we do to protect our students? 

Schools must be safe and feel safe for students and teachers to achieve their full potential. Promoting school safety and protecting Camas’ schools is a priority. School Resource Officers can help prevent school-based violence, possibly identify and connect at-risk students to needed services, and create safe, secure, and peaceful school environments. Continuing a strong relationship between the schools, its students, and our local law enforcement agency is important to the school safety system. 

How do you address the growing mental health issues affecting students? 

Acknowledging the fact that we have these important issues affecting our students is a great start. Promoting awareness about mental health issues to reduce the stigma will create a safe space for this student community. Providing access to counseling services at each school, training educators and staff to recognize signs of mental health issues, and encouraging empathy and understanding among educators are a few steps to addressing the issues affecting our student’s mental health. In order to provide these services, advocating for funding for school mental health providers/counselors at each school would be the ideal place to start. 

The school board pushes for equity across the school district. How does equity differ from equality? 

Equity recognizes that each child is unique in their own way and students have different needs that may require an individualized approach. Treating everyone exactly the same may produce different results. Equity acknowledges there are differences and therefore aims to ensure that everyone has access to what they need to be successful. 

Equality ensures that everyone has the same resources, and opportunities and assumes the “one size fits all” approach. 

What three things do you want to fix in the Camas School District? 

Funding is crucial to all aspects of school. We have amazing educators, support staff, and administration who can produce a top-tier educational experience for each student with the proper resources. Unfortunately, changes to the state funding model in 2018 caused Camas to experience declining state revenue that outpaced our expenses. Financial constraints can limit resources and opportunities for students and teachers. Therefore, advocating for changes to how Camas receives state funding, which accounts for 80 percent of our budget, would make an impactful difference in our student’s lives and experiences. Continuous advocacy efforts are required in this area of securing funds for our schools that align with our expectations for a fair and excellent public education. 

Continuity of care: It is important to continue to focus on seeing and serving each student, from the time they enter our schools to the day they graduate. We need to continue to look at how students and families access learning, resources, and experiences in our district and ensure that a student’s circumstances in life are not a hindrance to their level of success in our schools. Early detection of concerns, timely interventions, and coordinated management become more feasible when there’s continuity in the care of the student. This proactive approach to a student’s educational journey can lead to better outcomes and greater success. Consistent and connected care, attention, and support can profoundly impact every child’s experience and growth in our schools. It is vital to continue our efforts in seeing and serving our students. 

Recent negotiations have shown us the importance of relationships and how easily trust can be eroded. It has shown us all that open communication is key. It is important to listen to the community’s concerns and work collaboratively to rebuild our connections and trust. So improving on transparency and willingness to work out differences for the greater good of the students and teachers is paramount. 

What three things is CSD doing correctly? 

Creating a community within a community: Camas School District’s staff and teachers aim to foster a sense of community within each of our schools. Organized events such as the Track Meet for all 5th graders and Twilight Meet for all middle schoolers, are examples of bringing schools together. DECA and robotics programs, for example, invite and encourage parent and community involvement in learning opportunities for the students. These examples are just a few of the many opportunities for the schools to come together as one. 

Opportunities to learn: Investing in modern teaching tools and technology, finding innovative ways to teach, and providing extraordinary experiences for their students, are all part of the educational experience at CSD. Camas Education Foundation grants opportunities for all schools to further enhance the educational experiences for their students and teachers. There are different school options, various academic program pathways, and the number of clubs and strong athletic programs are all made available here at CSD. 

Community Involvement: Strong community involvement and support also add to the success of this school district. Camas School District can provide a robust educational experience for students with the help of community members, businesses, and parents’ engagement with the school. Connections create a strong bond with a strong foundation for learning and growing. 

What are CSD’s strengths? 

In 2008, we embarked on a cross-country move for a job in Vancouver, WA. With three young kids in the family, where we would reside was solely based on schools. Education in Camas was described as “quality” and “extraordinary.” Camas School District is well known for its excellence in education with possibilities for all students. A key component is the highly qualified and dedicated teachers who provide a positive, impactful learning environment to their students. A place that aims to provide students with a well-rounded education. CSD has a successful system; a system that is intricately woven into the dedication, expertise, and collaborative spirit of its people. It is the collective efforts, skills, and commitment of these individuals that breathe life into the school’s functionality and overall effectiveness. 

Tracey Malone joined the Camas School Board in 2017, and is seeking re-election this November in District 5. Lacamas Magazine asked her, along with the other incumbent school board members, several questions. Here are her answers.

Why are you running for school board?

I was born and raised in Camas and graduated from Camas High School along with my two sisters. My parents chose Camas for the schools, and I have chosen the same for my family. My daughter graduated from CHS in 2022 and my son is currently a Junior at CHS. I purposely chose to live here and have my own children attend Camas Schools to receive the same outstanding education that I did. I deeply care about Camas, the Camas School District and the education provided to all of our students. I am a champion for programs that prepare our graduates for whatever path they chose after high school.

What are your priorities, should voters elect you, over the next four years?

  • Financial stability 
  • State and local advocacy
  • Student well-being and mental health 

The School Board is ultimately responsible for approving budgets.  Why do we keep running deficits, and how would you approach the budget should you be re-elected?

With my background as a business owner, and positions on other boards including a local credit union, I am deep into the work of budgets and understanding complex funding models. Our current funding model is not sustainable, and we know we can’t keep running a deficit. We have been losing a portion of our regionalization funding from the State each year, while expenses and cost of living keep going up.  We have a plan to bring our expenditures and revenues in line and are committed to doing so. One of the many things that affect our funding is enrollment.  Although our enrollment has been increasing almost back to pre-pandemic numbers, birth rates in our area are projected to remain low. Top that off with the high cost of housing in our area making it not ideal for young families to move to our district.  We must maintain a balanced budget, without compromising student experiences, while being fiscally responsible with taxpayer money. 

Many voters blame the school board for the tone of the recent labor negotiations.  They say you set a negative tone and drove a wedge between teachers and parents.  How do you respond to that?

The district administration, teachers, and board share the same values and are committed to the same goal: putting students first. Neither side lost sight of that.  We learned many things from the recent negotiations, including the need to set some agreed upon guidelines as far as what and how we all are communicating with the community about what is being negotiated. The district and the bargaining groups have already planned meetings to help repair and build better relationships so that moving forward, we can work together on common ground.  Our next labor negotiations are only two years away, but the work to get there starts now.

Regarding school safety, would you support more School Resource Officers in our schools?  If not, what other things should we do to protect students?

School Safety is a top priority for the district, including our two SRO’s. When we were talking budget cuts last year, I heard loud and clear from many community members the importance of our SRO’s and the need to keep them in our schools.  Camas is unique in our relationship we have with the City of Camas.  They have stepped up to help ensure we were able to keep both of our SRO’s, understanding the value they bring to our students, staff, and community. SRO’s are certainly an important piece to school safety alongside the many other programs and efforts we currently have in place. One of those is a program called Zero Eyes, which is gun detection software.  We are the first district in our area to implement this software.  Recently Dr Anzalone shared this with other superintendents and districts in our area and we now have the attention of ESD, who is working on funding and grants to help all schools in our region have access to this type of security measure.  

How do you address the growing mental health issues affecting students?

Students across the state are experiencing increased social-emotional and mental health challenges.  We know that when students have their mental health and basic needs met, they are better equipped to grow and learn.  We must budget our resources and have adequate school counselors and psychologists to provide the mental health supports our students needs. 

The school board pushes for equity across the school district.  How does equity differ from equality?

Equality means providing the same to all.

Equity means recognizing that we all do not start from the same place and must acknowledge and make adjustments so that all students have what they need to succeed.

What three things do you want to fix in the Camas School District?

Because it is so important to all aspects of our district and affects all areas of our students education experience – State funding needs advocacy and fixing.  Camas was a winner in the pre-McCleary funding model.  The new prototypical school funding model has created many challenges for us and the supports and academic programs our community is used to having. In addition, the state caps the amount school districts can levy. One of the things we have done recently is create a Legislative Advocacy Committee made up of community members, staff and board members that will work alongside us as we continue to advocate for a funding model that works for Camas students.

What three things is CSD doing correctly?

Our students continue to test well above average compared to the Washington State average and are among the highest in our region.  

Attracting and retaining teachers and staff.  We are a destination district for employment, and our staff often stay with us for most of their career, which is a benefit to our students.

We work hard to provide ample opportunities and varying committees for our citizens and community members to actively engage in and participate in student experiences.   

What are CSD’s strengths?

Camas students, families and community are our biggest strengths.  We are a destination not only for our schools but for our community. We have robust education programs, athletics, music, arts, robotics, multiple clubs and three choice high schools for our students.  Our state test scores continue to be well ahead of the State averages as well as above our other local districts.  I attribute that directly to our teachers, staff, and systems we have in place.

To learn more, visit https://www.camas.wednet.edu/about-csd/school-board/board-members/

Educator Leanne Williams is running as a write-in candidate for Camas School Board, District 5 position against incumbent Tracey Malone. Lacamas Magazine asked Williams several questions aobut her candidacy. 

Williams has a Masters degree in Education, and taught Kindergarten at Mt. Pleasant and in the Evergreen School District. She is married to Camas High School history teacher, Bronk Williams, and has two teenage Camas students. 

Why are you running?

First let me say, I appreciate everyone who serves on our School Board. It is a voluntary position and I value civic minded people. I am running because I feel that I can make a difference as a School Board Director. I was very dissatisfied with the strike. I feel the district created a contentious tone during the bargaining and strike. I found it to be very negative. I am concerned about disturbances in our small town school community that feel negative and new. We are packing our classrooms with students and offering less in support and services to our students and teachers. Finally, I am capable and I am willing to serve our community.

We need to do a better job of addressing mental health issues in our students, which correlates to school safety. Camas High School is a great place if you run the line, but if you have anything divert you, if you need extra support, it’s a hard place to be. The surroudning support services are severely lacking now.

If elected, what are your priorities?

  • Help build an optimal educational experience for our students.
  • A system that better addresses and supports mental health issues that affect our students.
  • Analyze budgets and reserves.
  • Work to help improve our funding from the state.
  • Value conference period and creative supports for students.
  • Model an ability to disagree or negotiate with an opposing side with respect and professionalism.

Is the public system broken? 

No, but we have been degrading our educational experience, I believe for multiple reasons. COVID and budget constraints from the state have created a situation where we have defaulted to a less than adequate educational experience. I believe working together to navigate these rough waters is essential for our district. Modeling problem solving, collaboration, asking for help and respect for all, even in tough times, teaches our students many lessons. We are trying to prepare them for life after school as well as educate them in core content.

What are we doing right?  

  • We have hired quality teachers and staff, many club, port and extra curricular activities.
  • Asked for parent or staff perspectives through Thought exchanges. 
  • Parent Square communication is good, for the most part.
  • Legislative committee and good listening opportunities. 

Are parents paying enough attention?

I believe most parents are trying to pay attention to what is happening with their students, teachers and the district, which is why many were unhappy with the strike and the tone set by the district. 

How does a write-in candidate succeed?

When enough families and voters in our community send a message, on November 7th, that they want change. We need board members with a student focused agenda, strong problem solving skills, and an ability to differ or negotiate with opposing sides with respect and transparency. I agree with George McCoy that having three unopposed school board positions is not great for our democracy and can make our directors complacent. We, the voters, can make change. Voting is a positive and productive way for our community to signal to the Camas School District that we need change on the school board.

I’ve knocked 500 doors so far, and put up 100 signs. And, we’re putting up two big banners. We have people out there helping out. I do have close friends helping me. 

You may learn more at https://www.leanne4camas.com

Local attorney, George McCoy, is running as a write-in candidate for Camas School Board, District 4 position against Bamini Pathmanathan, who was appointed to the position earlier this year when Doug Quinn stepped down to serve as Camas City Administrator. Lacamas Magazine asked McCoy several questions about his candidacy. 

Why are you running?

I decided to run for school board because of the way the school board handled the recent labor stoppage. The messaging from the board and our Camas School District Superintendent put a wedge between teachers and the community. I don’t think they are transparent in the way they handled the process. I think they could do better.

There was a number of emails sent to parents and the community after the strike were sent to all of our students, as well. 

They sent an email about their last final offer and that wasn’t true. They sent emails about union representatives not meeting in a timely manner.  All of those communications were very divisive in their nature, and it never really felt like the School Board and Superintendent valued the community. They didn’t understand the value of teachers in our community. So many teachers and parents felt this way during the entire process.

I think the current Superintendent is trying to run the district more like a business than a school district. We should treat teachers like people. Now, we have this irreperable rift between teachers and parents. The danger is the lack of trust between parents and the school district and it’s created a lack of trust between voters and the teachers. 

I also feel we’ve gotten a little complacent in Camas about our School Board. We’ve had great schools for a long time, and we have three school board members running unopposed, and that’s not healthy for democracy. Nobody on the school board seems to be comfortable with conflict; they don’t engage in debate. They’ve been given budgets that don’t make sense, so they need to question what’s in them. They don’t do that.

If elected, what are your priorities?

Transparency to the public. Transparency in communications is so vital; it’s about respecting hard-earned tax dollars. If we have contested labor negotiations we need to start those early. There’s no reason why the teachers should have been forced to go on strike. 

We also need to keep all the current high schools open. The alternatives for the community work for them because we have a very diverse community.  There are kids that live very different lives with very different needs. Having Odyssey, Discovery and Hayes gives them the opportunity to learn and thrive.

I think we do need a baseline of equity where everyone has the opportunity to learn and thrive. We need the alternatives and options for those who are highly capable. We’ve seen an erosion of that in Camas schools. 

Class size has to be prioritized. You can’t give attention to the kids when there are so many kids in a classroom. We need to ensure we are able to set up a a diverse curriculum. We are able to do both of those things if we have 1:1 time. I think the adjustments with McCleary have been difficult for Camas and we can’t use levy money for that. On the flip size, we aren’t pushing back on the state. We need to prioritize that. Just accepting that isn’t the right answer, either. The state has too many unfunded mandates and we need to push back on that, and fight for what’s right. We have to fund PE and special education. 

We are in this perpetual situation, and this is not good enough.

Is the public school system broken?

I think the best education is in a public education setting. I don’t think it’s an optimal situation right now, but I think it’s better than the alternatives out there. I think it’s better than a home school setting. I think the social interactions in school are important. 

I think learning from folks with different perspectives is important. Not everything in our schools is academic. One of them in the social-emotional piece. 

I have four kids in this system ages 13, 10, 8, and 6. I want them to thrive. I want all the kids to thrive, but our system needs a significant overhaul. 

I think one thing to fix is uniformed communication between parents and teachers. The communication level you get varies depending on the teacher. I get some communication weekly, some monthly, some never. Maybe once a week we could budget time for teachers to communicate more. It’s helpful for parents to know what their kids are doing.

Ms. Swan is great at communicating. That’s something we could improve upon. Let’s give them an extra 20 minutes a week. 

Second thing: We have to lean into different opportunities available for our children. We can’t talk about removing programs and schools. Students that might be struggling need programs and opportunities to lift them up.

What are we doing right?

We have hired incredible teachers over the years. We have great teachers. I think we’ve had a good job getting folks in the classroom that really care about students and the community.

I think we have great athletic programs. Not speaking to our Superintendent but others have done a good job promoting these programs. 

Pinpointing the wrong turn in our district is difficult. I think complacency has built up over time. It’s been a bunch of small things over the years that have taken us in the wrong direction. Like the frog in a pot of boiling water. 

Are parents paying enough attention?

They are paying attention to the information given them. 

How does a write-in candidate succeed?

I think people are fed up, and we’re getting the message out. I’m reaching out to people on Facebook. I put up campaign signs. We are walking neighborhoods. I have a small group getting the word out. We are trying to do everything we can in a short window to win this campaign. We need people showing up at school board meetings and talk about what they’re doing wrong. 

Camas School District Superintendent John Anzalone announced Sunday evening that Camas schools will be closed Monday.

This is his letter:

Dear Camas Community,

Camas Education Association (CEA) has informed our district that there will be no school tomorrow. They are striking.

Today, CEA presented a comprehensive proposal with higher than previously requested salary increases as well as lower than previously requested class sizes. Our district’s bargaining team is disappointed that CA is regressing.

Our district has presented its last, best, and final offer. In it, we offered to raise salaries in 2023 by 5.7% and in 2024 by 5.9%. Our district’s proposal would make CEA teachers among the highest-paid educators in the region. Our highest-paid teachers would earn over $118.363 in 2023-24 and $124,991 in 2024-25.

Conversely, CEA’s request puts the highest-paid salaries from $121,653 for 2023-24 up to $129,746 for 2024-25.

CEA’s request in its third year of the contract would put the highest-paid teachers at $135,886.

The latest information is available on our Labor Relations website.

We are incredibly disappointed in the outcome of these negotiations.


John Anzalone

Statement from CEA: “Because Camas School District was unwilling to invest in students, CEA members will strike beginning Monday, Aug. 28, the first day of student instruction. Bargaining broke off for the day today (Sunday, Aug. 27) after the district refused to make commitments to reasonable class sizes or equitable funding for music, PE, and libraries. The district is instead stockpiling nearly 1 out of every 5 student dollars, amassing $15 million in the bank while student needs are unmet. Educators are meeting tonight (Sunday, Aug. 27) to make final preparations for picketing in the morning.”

More to come.

Camas, WA — About 125 local Project-Based Learning (PBL) students walked out of their classrooms today to protest staffing cuts at both Discovery High and Odyssey Middle Schools, which may total 20 percent of their respective staffs.

The students have expressed their concerns throughout the week, first by speaking up at Monday’s Camas School Board meeting, rallying, and participating in today’s walkout. They initially gathered in front of the Discovery High School, then marched down the school’s long driveway to have their signs visible to passersby.

Camas School District (CSD) is grappling with a $7.4 million deficit, and today CSD Superintendent, Dr. John Anzalone, released a statement to parents on how these cuts will be made to balance the budget.

To balance the $7.4 million deficit, CSD will draw down $1.8 million from reserves, layoff 10 district wide employees ($1.9 million), let go of eight school-wide support staff that are non-classroom ($1.9 million), and layoff 29 classroom teachers ( eight elementary, nine middle school, and 12 high school) totaling $2.6 million. Anazlone said their priority was to do as little disruption to classroom experiences as possible. 

Students protest against looming staff cuts at Discovery and Odyssey.

CSD explained why this situation has happened. In their statement, they said the following:

The shift in public education funding prompted by the McCleary Decision in 2018 has been quite a journey for our state and public school system. Five years later, expenses continue to outpace revenues, and our district anticipates a $7.4M shortfall.

Four key factors are at play: declining regionalization funding, the prototypical school funding model (McCleary), a dramatic enrollment drop, and the sunset of COVID Relief Funding:

1. Regionalization factors were put in place to adjust funding based on the cost of living in different communities. Factors for a handful of districts began declining in 2020-21 at a rate of 1% per year. It is unclear why this is the case. Camas is the only district in the ESD 112 region that experienced this reduction. The annual decreases are counter-intuitive, given that the cost per employee continues to rise and the cost of living in Camas continues to increase.

2. In the state’s prototypical school funding model, funding for staff relies on an experience factor average, not actual experience. Because most of our teachers have many years of experience and are, therefore, near the top of the pay scale, Camas fared better in the previous funding model, which funded districts based on their teaching staff’s actual years of experience and education level.

3. From March 2020 to February 2023, our student enrollment dropped from 7,262 to 6,973 (FTE*), primarily due to COVID, while our staffing levels have remained relatively unchanged.

4. COVID Relief Funds, including Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER), food service, and enrollment and transportation stabilization, total $10.8M to date. These funds, which are nearly expended, provided temporary relief and will not be reinstated going forward.


Following the air quality concerns raised by faculty and students at Camas High School and Liberty Middle School Tuesday, as well as others, Camas School District (CSD) Superintendent, Dr. John Anzalone, along with facilities staff, inspected multiple buildings Wednesday morning.

CSD issued this statement Wednesday morning:

“Early this morning, Dr. Anzalone and facilities staff members visited multiple buildings to assets today’s status. It was determined that schools would remain open because indoor air quality had improved compared to yesterday afternoon. Since outdoor air quality continues to be poor, recess, P.E., and athletics will remain indoors today. Today is a planned early release day; however, all professional development will be postponed so staff members may go home after students are released.

“Again, parents are always encouraged to consider the conditions of their neighborhood school and any particular circumstances or needs of their students to determine whether to keep their children home from school during adverse conditions. Students are excused from school when they have the parent or guardian’s permission.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed of any changes. Thank you for your support as we navigate the impacts of the Nakia Creek fire.”


Camas, WA — The Camas School District’s BookMoBus program is a weekly summer event that happens every Wednesday through August 11 at these alternating locations: Helen Baller, Woodburn and Dorothy Fox Elementary schools.

As part of the summer recovery program (which supports more than 300 students), it’s helping Camas students that need extra work on literacy. 

“For elementary school students, the summer recovery program helps students that need extra work on literacy, at the middle school level it helps them with math and literacy, and for high school it’s about credit recovery,” said Diane Loghry, CSD Director of Early Learning. “We work to provide something that’s consistent for all.”

You don’t need to be part of the recovery program to participate.

BookMoBus is made possible by generous grants came from Camas-Washougal Community Chest and General Federation of Women’s Club, and The Standard.

Run by Jen Scott, a teacher on special assignment, and high school volunteers, such as Abigail Malone and Madison Scott, the events alternate each week between the three aforementioned schools: Helen Baller, Dorothy Fox and Woodburn.

The next event is today at Helen Baller from 9 am-12:30 pm. Next Wednesday it will be at Woodburn from 9-11 am, and then at Dorothy Fox from noon-2 pm.

Students are able to check out books (on the honor system), participate in readings, and pre-K students are encouraged to pick up summer learning packets to help them prepare for Kindergarten. Parents can check out books, too.

Guest readers include school board members Corey McEnry and Erika Cox, as well as Julie Mueller, Bryan Graham, and CSD’s Interim Superintendent, Doug Hood.


The librarian counted 250 people at the last BookMoBus event at Dorothy Fox and Woodburn.

“The BookMoBus program started in summer of 2019,” said Scott. “Last summer we weren’t able to do it, and so we came back bigger this year with a bus. The real goal is to encourage reading and so we provide an opportunity to keep them reading over summer. 

“Recently in the last two weeks we rolled out 200 new books. It’s coming from requests from families about which types of books interest them. I get the requests and that’s what’s getting them back into reading more. Popular requests are graphic novels, Dragon Masters, and Dog Man, which is like the Diary of a Wimpy kid series.”

Loghry said early learning classes were among the first to open last Fall, and said she’s proud of the efforts coming from teachers.

“Teachers worked really hard and they continue to work hard,” said Loghry. “They advocate to bring kids into the building. I think students learned a lot of thing this year: patience, grit, flexibility, resilience.” 

Inside the converted BookMoBus.

Camas, WA — Amid a backdrop of outside protests Monday evening, including one man who screamed outside the board meeting window for more than 30 seconds (https://youtu.be/V1Ey7SwsejI), the Camas School Board heard from several parents who lashed out about equity programs, critical race theory proposals and mandatory mask wearing in classes while voting to approve $79,000 in robotic and cordless vacuum cleaners for Dorothy Fox, Grass Valley and Prune Hill Elementary schools.

The robotic vacuum expenditure was approved near the close of the meeting, which started by a motion from School Board Director, Doug Quinn, who felt the expense will pay for itself over time and reduce district labor expenses. Quinn was named Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, and will be recognized next week at a formal dinner.

The board voted on the proposal, which came from Custodial Supervisor, Ben Starbuck, who said the robotic fleet of vacuums is working nicely throughout the school district (including an expansion to Jack Will & Rob Center, The Heights Learning Center, Woodburn, Lacamas Lake Elementary, and Woodburn Elementary.

The board voted to approve $59,000 for 125 S4 Max vacuums and $20,00 for nine cordless Proteam backpack vacuums to support the new cleaning teams being created at Camas School (CSD). The custodial team has been piloting the robotic fleet of vacuums at Liberty Middle School, Helen Baller and the ZAC Administration building.

The results, said Starbuck, free upwards of two hours of labor time each night allowing custodians to focus on other tasks. The battery powered vacuum cleaners allow custodians to clean areas the robots cannot reach.

Early in the meeting, during the public comments time, school board members heard from concerned parents who are for and against equity programs, as well as Critical Race Theory.

VIDEO OF SEVERAL PARENT COMMENTS: https://youtu.be/jabhjJ60odw

Camas Education President, Shelley Houle, spoke about supporting teachers. 

“To say that the last 14 months have been tough is an understatement,” Houle said. “We learned to adapt amidst this growing pandemic … We learned to plan quickly for changes, we navigated four to five different schedules just this year … Too often, we are defined by association and not seen for the individuals we are and it’s disheartening to hear public attacks on the Camas teacher union especially in our small town.”

“Our fabric is made up of individuals with diverse backgrounds so who are we? We are White, we are Black, we are Asian, we are Indian, we are deaf, we are parents …” she continued. “Some of us wanted school to open more quickly and some of us wanted to wait until rates dropped significantly.”

Protestors outside CSD Administration building.

Kenric Thompson lambasted the school board. 

Citing district documents, he said: “Implmentation of the following core practices. Current forms of oppression: I will identify and disrupt my biases and own my privilege. I will dismantle practices and policies that perpetuate oppression. It goes on to say: ‘Draft curriculum for adoption, selection, creation for emphasis on correcting historical myths and disinformation and including multiple cultural perspectives.’ This sounds like a hidden agenda.”

He said that CSD would continue hiring for affinity groups when hiring for the district and will “discriminate against those who not within these groups.”

“What does this teach our children when CSD is going to openly discriminate or oppress those who may be more qualified but don’t fit the CSD’s equity and liberal agendas, and this is exactly one of the tenets of the Critical Race Theory.”

He said “you as a school board answer to the people who put you there. You answer to us the citizens of Camas.” And, he encouraged parents to pull their kids from the district.

“You have placed politics and woke agendas ahead of children’s education and knowledge. We the citizens of Camas and Washougal are going to take back our communities and our schools. We are strong, united, we are growing and boy do we mean business.”

One parent said “it’s apparent to me we’re living in a very narrow-minded community, a community that is not thinking about those who are not highly represented.”

He added: “I can get on board with this anti-racism curriculum not working because it won’t and the reason why it won’t is because the individuals who are steering these young children aren’t going to be steered by the teachers delivering the curriculum it’s the parents who they go home to every single day, and if those parents do not have a view of the world around them that is not narrow-minded the curriculum won’t work, so the challenge to me is to the community to think outside of the box, think outside yourselves, and think about those around you. I’m scared for my three beautiful brown children …”

The School Board meets every two weeks.

Protestors gather outside the CSD administration building. Most of these protestors are not from Camas.

Camas, WA — Camas School District (CSD) Superintendent Dr. Jeff Snell said schools continue to open up to in-class learning as COVID-19 cases numbers continue to drop across Clark County. The public also learned CSD is facing a $3.5 million shortfall this fiscal year.

“Clark County Health Department will release the latest COVID-19 data for this week later today with rates expected to be below 150 new cases per 100,000 population,” he said today. “This number indicates that Clark County continues to be in the “moderate’ risk level for a fourth consecutive week. This is good news and reinforces the importance of our COVID countermeasures as across the region we’ve added in-person learning experiences for our students and county rates have continued to drop.”

The school board reviewed COVID-19 level data and the current Reopening Plan again on February 22 and made the following decisions around elementary and high school transition timing and programming.

Elementary: At our elementary schools, instruction will move away from a 2-day hybrid Cohort A/B model to 4-day, in-person instruction on March 22, which aligns closely with the end of the trimester. Schools will still be following the 6 foot istancing requirement, masking, and other countermeasure strategies. Staff will be looking at how to maximize classroom and school space. In certain cases, additional staff may need to be hired to support smaller groups of students. Families who indicate a desire for on-site learning will have students attending on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Wednesdays will continue to be remote learning days and also used by staff to support planning for both on-site and remote learners.

High School: With cases of COVID-19 in Clark County below 200 cases per 100,000 over 14 days, our high schools will have in-person orientation/small group activities during the week of March 1, and we will begin 2-day, hybrid instruction beginning March 8. Students will have a Cohort A/B model. Note: Hayes Freedom High School is already in a hybrid model.


Business Services Director Jasen McEathron gave a monthly budget status report indicating we are trending to end the fiscal year with a $3.5 million shortfall largely due to the pandemic. There are still many variables at play in the 2020-21 budget including Federal and State relief funding and how that might impact us in Camas. 

Social-Emotional Learning

Assistant Superintendent Lisa Greseth and Helen Baller Principal Melissa Hutton were on hand to share an update on the social-emotional wellbeing of our students. District-level data was shared from our second student survey. Highlights for our students were in the areas of supportive relationships with staff and at home, and opportunities for growth in the way we help support emotion regulation for our students. Principal Hutton gave specific examples of how a school uses the data as part of the overall school plan for social-emotional learning and support. 

Becky Stauffer

CSD digital automation specialist Becky Stauffer received the 2021 Laserfiche K-12 Education Impact Award at this year’s virtual Laserfiche Empower Conference.

This award recognizes influential industry leaders who exemplify leadership within the Laserfiche community and empower others to drive transformation within their organizations. Congratulations Becky!

Noah Christensen

CHS junior Noah Christensen was honored with an MTP award by Coach Jones. Noah has grown a lot over his years at Camas, in all facets. One of the biggest ways in which he’s grown is by not being too proud to ask for help when he feels himself getting out of sorts.

“Noah displays good leadership qualities on the football field and in the classroom and he’s just a really fun young man to get to work with and coach,” stated Coach Jones. Great work, Noah!