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School district parents plead for a new pool

By: Brody Fernandez, Lead Reporter for South Placer
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Tuesday night’s Western Placer Unified School District board meeting was packed as parents asked that a new pool be built somewhere in Lincoln. About 50 residents were in the audience.

Four parents addressed the board during the public comment part of the meeting, expressing the dire need for a new pool in Lincoln. Several Lincoln High School students stood with the parents and stated their concerns for not having a regulation-sized pool in contrast to surrounding high schools.

Among the residents advocating for the board to take action was Lori Stanley, Lincoln High School’s head swim coach.

“Lincoln is becoming a swim town whether people like it or not,” Stanley said. “The pool is simply not big enough for recreation events, high school meets or even regular routine practice exercises. We are pleading that the board and the city work together in order to bring us a regulation-size pool so that we stop losing athletes to other schools for simply not having a competitive edge regarding our facilities.”
Another swim parent and Lincoln resident, Kathryn Johnson, expressed other reasons why a larger pool is needed.

“There are other schools in the area that have warm-up pools adjacent to their main-regulation-size pool. This allows athletes to properly prepare and physically warm up to prevent unneeded sustained injury upon competition,” Johnson said. “Would you allow your football or basketball athletes to suddenly jump into peak performance with no area to warm up or cool down? We need a pool here in Lincoln that will level the playing field with surrounding high schools in regard to competition and college recruitment and scouting.”
Board member Kris Wyatt first responded to the concerned parents.

“Look, we sympathize with your concerns absolutely but it’s imperative that you guys take your concerns and questions over to city Parks and Recreation,” Wyatt told the parents. “The city needs to hear you, because now we have.”
Western Placer Unified School District Superintendent Scott Leaman then spoke.

“I really want to thank Lori for bringing this to our attention. Because frankly, we are losing kids to schools like Whitney and Rocklin because of this,” Leaman said. “I assure you that we are working really hard in this area. Please know that these pools you are asking for are very expensive. However, Placer County Tourism has come on board to help with financing for a new pool, so that’s an ally we’re glad to have and talks are already underway for a new project.”
Board Vice-President Paul Long gave parents a rough timeline for the project.

“Look, this (pool) thing is going to happen but this is not going to happen tomorrow,” Long said. “This is going to take four to five years, if I’m being honest with you.”
Board President Paul Carras expressed his support for some new ideas.

“It would be a shared facility with both the new Twelve Bridges High School and Lincoln High when completed,” Carras said. Thanks for bringing up the idea of the warm-up pool. That’s not in the works now but you have brought it to our attention.” 

In other meeting news:
-  Western Placer Teacher’s Association President Tara Jeane announced her resignation Tuesday night and expressed her appreciation for her tenure as the association’s president. “I would like to officially announce that in two weeks, we will have a new president,” Jeane said. “I want to thank you so much for going on this journey with me. It’s pretty amazing what our teachers do every day. I would like to thank the board, who are consistently dedicating their free time to take care of this community and the schools here in Lincoln.”

There was a shared sentiment among board members with the news of Jeane’s announcement. Leaman gave her a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the entire school board and staff members.

“Tara has been such a dear friend of mine and she’s just so great at what she does here,” Leaman said. “Whenever there was a problem, Tara and I would always be quick to nip it in the bud. She will be missed.”
-  Action Item 9.1 was approved 5-0 to allow the selection of BRCO Constructors, Inc., for the Lincoln High School portables’ lease-leaseback services. Five additional portables will be added.   
- Action Item 9.2 was a safety update from Leaman. “The local Summit Church has nearly received all of the barracuda door bars, which will be installed this summer before the start of the school year,” Leaman said. “We are moving forward in these areas in a collaborative effort before the new year.”

- Action Item 9.5 was introduced by Leaman for the beginning process of naming the new high school as the board will soon receive a PDF where collaborators and city leaders will be asked a series of questions that include their preferred name of the new school, the suggested mascot, school colors and reason or history behind the name. “It will be fascinating to see what people turn in,”  Leaman told the board.
- A new hire was announced as Lance Van Court will take over for Stacey Brown as Glen Edwards Middle School principal.