School budget cuts are ‘painful’

Over the last several years, I have sat through numerous Northshore School District School Board meetings. I have listened as concerned parents and staff members have fought to preserve cherished programs and much-needed services. I have shared in the frustration and mourning as those programs and services, one after another, have been reduced or eliminated from the school district’s budget.

These are difficult times, but the budget cuts our schools keeping experiencing are not new. Slowly, over many years, our district and many others across the state have been forced to make painful decisions on which programs and services to save and which ones to sacrifice. These are not decisions they make lightly, nor are they choices they want to make. Sadly, our state legislature’s choice to ignore its constitutional responsibility to fully fund public education has led to the need for our school district to slowly, painfully eliminate educational programs and necessary services.

Northshore School District has been forced to rely on revenues raised through its levies to backfill the 20 percent gap between what the state allocates for basic education and what the district funds. Contributing to this gap is the ever-growing list of unfunded mandates with which the state continues to burden schools. The very monies that used to go to adding “enrichment programs” to our district’s educational offering to students now must be used to pay for basic education needs that the state chooses not to fully fund. The result is that these wonderful programs, once the shining stars in Northshore School District’s crown, now are lost.

But we are not without hope. I am convinced that if concerned parents and community members call or write to their legislators, encouraging them to fully fund public education, we can affect change and slowly get back to what once was. We can regain the programs and services lost in recent years. With your help, our children will once again receive the level of educational support they need and deserve, and they will be privileged to experience the wonderful educational offerings for which Northshore was once renowned.

Please contact your legislators and let them know you care about education, and ask them to work to fully fund public education.

Berta Phillips, Bothell

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