School Board Aims To Decimate The District They Serve
If you wanted to rebuild your savings account, would you stop paying your mortgage and tell your family they need to exist on one meal a day? But here's the "good news" you'll rebuild your savings in a year. You'll just lose your house in the process. And be pretty hungry.
What the Shoreline School Board is proposing is worse.
Per Susie Moore and Michelle Harris, Shoreline PTA Council FACE/DEI Team:
Earlier this school year, knowing there was going to be a need to make significant reductions for next year’s budget, the district convened a committee called the Budget Advisory Team. The BAT (made up of staff, parents, students, community members) was tasked with developing recommended budget priorities, adjustments, and reductions to present to the School Board in early spring. The BAT has met four times so far since November. You can read about the BAT and see the presentation slides from each meeting on the BAT page of the district website.
At the BAT’s meeting on January 9th, members were told that the School Board requested a plan to trim next year’s budget enough to cover expenses and build back up a reserve fund equivalent to 4% of the budget. District staff indicated that this would mean coming up with $18-19 million dollars in cuts. This Board decision (to request a plan with this level of cuts) was made at the December 13th board meeting - you can find the recording of this meeting here. Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Farmer had suggested phasing in the build-up of the reserves so that the cuts next year would not need to be so large, but the Board wanted to see a plan for rebuilding the reserves to 4%.
At the School Board meeting the following day, January 10th, 12 members of the BAT (out of 31 members) who are also members of the Shoreline teacher’s union and the classified staff union resigned from the BAT in protest to the task put before them, feeling that the process the board has asked for is “a process that will be public, painful, demoralizing, and frankly, impossible,” as stated by Matt Reiman, SEA President. The next scheduled meeting of the BAT, on Monday, January 23rd, has been canceled, but the BAT will be continuing with their work.The district published this information about the BAT in their Friday update:
The Budget Advisory Team (BAT) meeting that was scheduled for Monday, January 23, has been canceled. The group will reconvene on Monday, February 6, at 4:30 pm. Members of the public may convene in the Board Room, Shoreline Center (18560 1st Ave. NE) to watch a live stream of the meeting.
Background, past presentations, and additional resources can be found on the BAT webpage.
To understand the budget situation that the Shoreline School District is facing, please read this "2023-24 School District Budget Outlook." We also invite you to view recordings of presentations shared with the School Board at the October 18 School Board meeting and the December 13 School Board meeting.
If you have a suggestion that you think the team should consider, please send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The cuts that the district needs to make in order to balance the budget and meet the School Board’s request to rebuild the reserves are huge. We want to make sure that families are aware of this and the potential impact it will have on their children’s education.
We ask that you send out regular messaging, if you haven’t been already, regarding this budget crisis and that you encourage families to get informed, to ask questions and to advocate for what they feel our children need. We will send out regular information that you can forward on to your families. You are welcome to copy and paste parts of this letter to send out now. And if you have prepared any messaging, please share it with Council as well so that we can share it with other PTAs.
The district has planned four community information sessions. *Please promote these and encourage families to attend.*
- Tuesday, January 31, 7-8:00 pm, at Einstein Middle School Commons
- Wednesday, February 1, 5-6:00 pm, at Kellogg Middle School Commons
- Friday, February 10, 12:30-1:30 pm, on Zoom: https://ssd412-org.zoom.us/j/84030688699?pwd=RGlvWGc3TU5TV3BjdWN
- Wednesday, February 15, 6-7:00 pm, in the Shoreline Room, Shoreline Center (north end of the building)
School Board meetings are open to the community and anyone can speak during the public comment part of the meeting, both in person or via zoom, or submit comments by filling out this online form by 12:00 pm the day of the meeting. When giving public comment, the Board does not respond, but it is an opportunity to have your questions, concerns and suggestions heard by the Board. The agenda and the zoom link for the meeting can be found here.
Thank you for taking action on this issue and encouraging all of our families to do so. These cuts are going to reshape our district and we cannot stress enough how important it is that families are informed and involved in this process. If you have any questions, please contact the Council FACE team at email@example.com.