Letter to the editor: Save our Edmonds School District Music Programs


Edmonds School District is proposing a 25% reduction in budget for the 2023-2024 school year which will remove many music and arts programs from our schools. Our students are still struggling to make a come-back to pre-COVID academic performance levels and removing any instructional support from these students would be detrimental.

My daughter has dyslexia and since joining the high school symphonic band, her English grades have improved dramatically, as has her enjoyment of school overall. There are those who see the arts as a “nice-to-have” vs. core part of the public education system. I am from a family of educators and administrators, and I can tell you firsthand that these programs have a significant impact on retaining student interest and even increase proficiency across many other “core curriculum” areas.

Budgeting is not an easy task, and balancing the needs across a variety of district responsibilities is challenging. However, we should never be taking funding away from the student’s direct educational instruction. Every dollar should be prioritized for its impact on their learning, vs. operational and administrative resource costs.

I would encourage the school board to be more transparent with their budget so that the community of parents and students who contribute to that fund can help with prioritization and recommendations where appropriate.

Enrollment continues to increase in our schools for music and art classes. We do not want to see these valuable educational resources taken away from our children at this critical time.

Many thanks,

Erika Barnett
Parent, Edmonds Business owner, chair of Edmonds Chamber of Commerce Board

  1. After attending council’s 4/17 meeting, I find they have credibility issues with the current Fire/EMS annexation vote. Were their actions reflective of a commitment to fully inform their neighbors, the recent Happenings would have plainly stated what was discussed: annexation will effectively double the cost of Fire/EMS.

    They might have also confirmed whether Mill Creek’s or Mukilteo’s costs figured into their decisions. Two cities of equal population, but larger geography have very different 2023 Fire EMS costs. Mill Creek taxpayers have experienced in 2023 what we can expect in 2024 – an historic doubling of costs once annexation was complete. Mukilteo, with its own fire department, has 2023 costs of $5.3. Our 2024 costs will be $7 million.

    We own our fire station. The FAQs on the issue say staffing and service levels will be the same after the annexation. What’s wrong with having our own department? And why does simply cutting out the city as the middle man collecting taxes result in such a huge increase?

    Council took great pains to claim they could take no position on this ballot measure. That is disingenuous. Council and senior staff know that off-month ballot measures are conceived to produce lower turnout which benefits the Yes vote.

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