Commentary: Public education empowers generations — Edmonds School District budget cuts threaten that power

Thank you to the My Neighborhood News Network for shedding light on the budget shortfall facing the Edmonds School District  in your Aug. 1 publication. The potential ramifications of this educational budget deficit are grave, with expected increases in class sizes, reduced funding for art, music, sports and extracurricular activities that contribute to intellectual, emotional and physical development of our youth. The decision to address this issue is commendable, given the stakes. However, there were changes to the article that the Foundation for Edmonds School District would like to correct. 

The Foundation for Edmonds School District is an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that collaborates closely with the district to champion children, families and educators in their pursuit of educational excellence. It is imperative to clarify that the foundation’s purpose is not to offset the district’s budget reductions. Our role is to provide complementary educational and vocational programming to students, a nourishing network that feeds hundreds of hungry children and families every year, and classroom grants to teachers who do not get enough funding for crucial supplies. 

The district and the foundation have forged an effective public-private partnership that optimizes our combined efforts. It is vital to stress that we do not act as a direct funder to the district; rather our programs fill needs that the district cannot and we can help fill in some of the gaps. 

The foundation seeks to bolster its Endowment Fund, a strategic move aimed at ensuring the sustainability of our programs and classroom grants, regardless of economic circumstances or the outcome of voter and state decisions on adequate district funding. While we do not have the capacity to make up for budget cuts to the district, an established endowment fund empowers us to identify and effectively address evolving community needs. That’s why we are grateful to our donors, volunteers and community for their unwavering support and their contributions that underpin our efforts.

I appreciate the opportunity to dispel misconceptions surrounding this issue. The community deserves an accurate understanding of the far-reaching implications of these budget cuts and we are happy to see the commitment by My Neighborhood News Network to covering this matter.

— By Barry Crane, Board President
Foundation for Edmonds School District

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