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School board explores new policy dealing with liquor license requests

Some in attendance at last week's Sunnyside School Board meeting may have been a bit perplexed as to why policy #4270 was a blank sheet of paper.

The board was considering the first reading of policy #4270, dealing with the district's policy on handling liquor license renewal requests.

At the urgency of board member Bill Smith, directors have been trying to address the issues of alcohol and tobacco advertising by businesses located within the immediate area of schools for the last few months.

School board member Larry Pangle took the lead on why the policy was left blank before directors.

Pangle touched on a meeting Sunnyside School District Executive Director of School and Community Resources Ruben Carrera attended at the Sunnyside City Council chambers. At the meeting a representative from the Washington State Liquor Control Board was on hand to address Council concerns with liquor license requests. At the meeting it was revealed the liquor control board only sends liquor license requests to the direct address of the establishments nearest the business requesting the license. In the district's case, this means a building principal would get the liquor license request instead of the administration office.

"The state says the school board is not involved in this," said Pangle.

Pangle, though, felt the board should provide some sort of direction for building principals when dealing with liquor license requests.

The district's policy review committee was presented with policy #4270, but at the request of Pangle didn't address the matter. Pangle said he asked that the policy be left blank so the school directors could have an open discussion about the matter.

Smith was flabbergasted to learn the state does not want the opinion of elected officials in the matter of a liquor license requests, instead leaving the matter up to building principals.

"That seems a little odd to me that the elected officials are not asked," said Smith.

Smith said while he respects the decision-making abilities of the district principals, he felt by not having a policy in place guiding building heads there would be too much inconsistency in dealing with liquor license matters. Smith also suggested the board obtain directly from the state liquor control board the policy for dealing with liquor license requests, an idea on which the board agreed.

Sunnyside School District Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole said one of the building principals received a liquor license request from the state and the letter wasn't clear enough to understand what was being asked.

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