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Northshore School District needs more transparency | Letter
Approximately 50 percent of students in the Northshore School District qualify for the free or reduced lunch program (2010 U.S. Census). Study after study shows the impact that poverty and low income have on children’s development and education outcomes.
Despite the truth of those studies, the Northshore School Board voted 4-1 to approve a calendar that they have admitted will cause a hardship for many families in our school district. The only hope for these families is if some other outside group steps in to fill the void and thus ease the hardships caused by the school board’s decision.
Tim Brittell, current president of the Northshore Education Association, wrote a letter to the editor of the Woodinville Weekly supporting the union’s decision to pressure the school board to approve a weekly early release schedule. He alluded to a study allegedly conducted by the Northshore School District Elementary Design Team 10 years ago. It was just one of numerous items they reviewed that year, such as curriculum adoption and changes to the elementary report card.
The school board rejected the team's recommendations concerning early release for teacher planning time. Brittell claims that the decision to reject the recommendation of the 2003-2004 study was due to the “economic collapse," which occurred several years later in the fall of 2008.
The Northshore Education Association continued to push for the early release time, until this year when they were able to control the majority of the school board. What was quite clear from the purported timeline that Brittell offered was that at no time did the Northshore Education Association or the school district involve the parents and community members in their discussion of, or decision to implement, the early release schedule. The decisions were made behind closed doors without the transparency that several members of the current school board had previously made part of their campaign platforms.
The lack of transparency and collaboration with parents and community has caused outrage throughout the Northshore School District community. There is a marked lack of trust from parents, community members and even many teachers, toward the district and several members of its board of directors.
The damage that has been done - and during a bond and levy year no less - is grave. It was completely avoidable. At any time during the process the district and the school board could have convened a task force consisting of educators, administrators, parents and community members to truly study the issue. In doing so, they would have provided the transparency that the community demands and our children deserve. That they chose not to do this is unacceptable.
Berta Phillips, Bothell