With the late adoption of the State budget, Edmonds School District Superintendent Dr. Nick Brossoit said Wednesday that the district will now move forward with plans to hire more teachers, with the goal of reducing class size and provide additional support for learning, teachers, schools and services.
“With the new state funding, 40 new teachers can now be hired to lower class size across all grade levels,” Brossoit said. “Lowering class size was clearly the highest priority we heard from both staff and parents during our spring community budget input sessions.”
The just-budgeted state funds will also be used to:
· Partially restore school building budgets.
· Better support English language learners, early learning, special education, music, athletics, grounds, maintenance, and a number of other support areas.
· Provide professional development and support for the new teacher and principal evaluation system.
· Eliminate furlough days that all staff across the organization took the last two years.
· Partially restore classified support positions, supplies and related maintenance work.
The 2013-14 budget will not be final until the School Board approves it during its Aug. 13 meeting. The first reading is scheduled for July 9.
“Our students have done a remarkable job achieving their education through times of financial adversity,” said School Board President Ann McMurray, referring to students’ high scores on both the state assessments and SATs. “All students deserve ample services to give them the best chance at a successful academic career.”
McMurray said she is “relieved to see the state provide a down payment toward K-12 education and look forward to the legislature meeting the full financial benchmarks set through McCleary,” referring to the the State Supreme Court ruling that the Washington State Legislature must appropriately fund public schools for the state’s one million students by 2018.
After years of state funding cuts and having to reduce the district budget by more than $40 million, which included the closing of two schools and scaling back if not eliminating many programs, this infusion of new dollars is a “welcomed down payment for K-12 public school funding,” Brossoit said. “The resources are desperately needed as a result of years of the state underfunding schools. Even with these new funds, the state still has quite a ways to go to reach its constitutional threshold of “ample” funding for schools.”
Brossoit expressed his appreciation for the support the district has received from voter-approved programs and operations levies over the years. “Without local support, the depth of the cuts would have been even greater,” he said. “It is time we reverse that course and begin restoring and investing in the key areas of our educational system.
“We are very appreciative of our community’s consistent and continued dedication to the children in the communities of Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Woodway,” Brossoit added. “Clearly, education is a priority in South Snohomish County.”