The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Tracy Thompson
the Times 

Representative Rude visits Waitsburg schools

He plans to visit every school district in his region


December 12, 2019

Tracy Thompson

The editor caught up with Representative Skyler Rude (l) and Waitsburg School Superintendent Mark Pickel at the Waitsburg High gymnasium.

WAITSBURG-Representative Skyler Rude (R) visited all three Waitsburg schools on Monday, December 9th. In his commitment to meet the needs of his constituents, he is on a mission to visit every school district in the area he serves. To date he has visited Finley, Starbuck and Dixie School Districts and will visit Patterson school district next week.

After visiting with elementary students in the multipurpose room, he then stopped by Preston Hall. At Waitsburg High School, he sat in on the Contemporary World Problems class where he faced some pointed questions about the current political climate, as well as school funding.

One student asked, "What do you think of President Trump?"

Rude took that opportunity to focus on his interest in "creating a climate of civility and community," and mentioned that he is on a bipartisan committee in the legislature tasked with doing just that.

Another student asked about funding for arts and music programs. Rude noted that those programs serve a very important function of keeping students engaged in school, and mentioned the difficulty small school districts such as Waitsburg have in offering those programs due to the current full time equivalency funding model.

In a conversation after the classroom visits with both Rude and Waitsburg Superintendent Mark Pickel, both commented on the staffing challenges small districts face, and about the reliance on levies to provide programming beyond basic education.

Rude sees it as his role to encourage West side lawmakers to appreciate the realities of Eastern Washington, and to also be a voice for the minority party.

"My goal is to have experiences in these kind of (small) schools so that when bills are before my committee, maybe I'll be able to identify automatic aspects of the bill that wouldn't be good for rural districts before they become law." he said.

He also noted that "I get along very well with the majority party, I feel well respected and considered by them," which should be instrumental in achieving our district's goals.

Rude serves on the Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program Committee, the Joint Higher Education Committee, the Joint Task Force on Community and Technical College Counselors, the Capitol Furnishings Preservation Committee, the LGBTQ Commission, and the National Conference of State Legislature's Nuclear Legislative Working Group.


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