Edmonds School Board approves 2023-24 district budget

During a brief July 11 meeting, the Edmonds School District Board of Directors approved its 2023-2024 budget and heard from two people making public comments. It also approved the family language access plan, which spells out how the district will provide services to non-English speakers or those with limited English proficiency.

District budget shortfalls caused by lower enrollment numbers and the end of pandemic funding programs have recently placed a strain on the Edmonds School District. Hundreds of parents, students and teachers — mostly those supporting music programs — protested the upcoming cuts in April, when plans to reduce staffing were made public.

Music parent Jennifer Castle referenced a comment made by Board President Nancy Katims at the June 27 school board meeting when she recommended that people contact their state legislators to advocate for additional school funding. Castle took this advice and united with other “music parents” in an effort to do exactly that. She requested that the board partner with them and help guide their efforts to bring more funding to schools. As Castle left the podium, Katims thanked her for the offer and said they would take her up on it.

Sheryl Passarge pauses after asking a question.

Teacher Sheryl Passarge also spoke, as she had the month before. Passarge began by recounting a previous summer program that she taught, in which multilingual students learned about the solar system alongside their English-speaking peers. Passarge then described this year’s summer programming as “skeletal.” She also said that her school’s administration recently emailed faculty about using snacks “sparingly” and only when necessary, as the snacks would not be replenished and were to last for the four-week summer period.

“Meanwhile, folks in the school district office who were previously bringing home $248,000 a year will now be bringing home $267,000 per year. Does anyone see a problem with this?” she asked.

School Board President Nancy Katims.

Later in the meeting, Katims said she was surprised to hear about snacks being rationed during the summer program and said it “didn’t sound right” as the Nourishing Network had been working to bring food to those who needed it. Superintendent Rebecca Miner said she would ask someone to look into the matter.

–By Jasmine Contreras-Lewis

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