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Posted on May 9, 2019

Ybarra postpones decision on school board post

State Rep. Alex Ybarra, R-Quincy, said he will make a final decision on whether to stay on the Quincy School District board after the November elections, when he will run for a one-year temporary term in the State Legislature.
Ybarra, a Quincy graduate (class of 1979) and a longtime employee of Grant County PUD, was appointed by county commissioners in three counties to the post left open by Ellensburg legislator Matt Manweller, who resigned after last November’s election.
A victory in November would allow Ybarra the chance to run for a full term in November of 2020.
Ybarra is a director on the Quincy School District board, and his appointment to the state Legislature had put his future on the board in question at first.
Now Ybarra says that his final decision on whether to stay on the board will hinge on the outcome of this fall’s election.
“If I win, when I win the election, I hope, then I will make a decision on whether I stay on,” he said. Until then, he will remain a member of the board.
With him in Olympia up until last week, the board is down to four members at meetings. Ybarra said he has not been called on to break a tie yet.
“”We have a pretty tight board,” he said. “We kind of all know how we are going to vote, so it’s working out OK.”
Things are working out OK in Olympia, as well.
“There were a whole bunch of capital projects that I was involved in,” he said. He listed $300,000 for design work at the Quincy hospital, and funds for the George Community Hall roof, a couple of buildings in Ellensburg, a park in Royal City, the water system in Quincy, and at the Odessa aquifer.
Just two weeks ago, Ybarra had a big first in Olympia: The first bill he sponsored that Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law.
“That was about as cool as it comes,” he said. “It was a really special day.” Several family members attended the signing ceremony, Ybarra said.
The bill addresses the statewide teacher shortage, seeking to open up the pipeline for teachers to get into the profession, he said.
“A lot of substitute teachers are volunteer moms and dads, and they want to become teachers after a little bit,” he said, without necessarily having a teaching certificate. Many of these people take a basic version of the Washington Educator Skills Test, known as the West-B test, and when they do badly, that curtails their chances to become teachers.
“We don’t want to drive away people who don’t do well on one test, even though they could be really good teachers,” Ybarra said.
The bill will allow for a more holistic approach to hiring teachers, not just based on the WEST-B scores, he added.
The bill passed the House of Representatives 96-0 and the Senate 46-2.
“No matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, everybody needs teachers and everybody recognizes there’s a teacher shortage,” Ybarra said.

By Sebastian Moraga,