SHORECREST HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS' STATEMENT ON DISTRICT'S BUDGET CRISIS
Shorecrest’s Student Council gathered today, June 20, 2023, in an emergency session to capture the will of the Student Body in regards to the current financial crisis of our district. As a Student Body, we want to express our disappointment in our School Board’s actions. This statement was approved by Student Council at today’s meeting and is the official position of Shorecrest students.
We understand what an incredibly difficult position the Board and District are in with regards to making necessary budget cuts, and we are deeply grateful to the Board for ensuring ELO stipends are not cut. However, there is more work to do to fully restore ELO funding. Despite School Board President Cohen’s statement on April 4th; “It was never the intention of the board or, I believe, the District, to make cuts to extracurricular activities...like we heard so eloquently from our students today,” part of ELO funding remains on the potential list of budget items to cut. Despite an hours-long school board meeting with 115 public comments, an outpour of student support for ELO funding, and outrage among the community, the school board has not followed through with its promise.
Shorecrest students are deeply disheartened by the potential cutting of the “ELO Pots”, which removes funding for a number of club advisors at our school, including those whose clubs work towards equity and provide affinity spaces, such as Asian Pacific Islander Culture Club, Black Student Union, Latino Club, Muslim Student Association, and Women in STEM. Other clubs at risk work to improve our community both inside and outside the halls of Shorecrest, such as Natural Helpers, Climate Justice Club, and Interact Service Club. Here is a list of the advisors and work that will be cut at Shorecrest next year if the ELO pots are not funded:
- Art Club
- Art Expo Coordinators
- Asian Pacific Islander Culture Club
- Climate Justice Club
- Environmental Club
- HOSA - Future Health Professionals
- Model United Nations
- Muslim Student Association
- Natural Helpers
- Pre-Calc Study Group
- Science Club
- Senior Academic Awards Night
- Senior Graduation Speakers
- Taylor Swift Club
- Women in STEM
Unfortunately, the impacts to these particular Shorecrest clubs is a small slice of the total harm, as clubs and activities will also be cut from every other school in our district, and will especially impact the extracurriculars and activities of our elementary schools as the majority of their ELO funding comes from these pots rather than ELO stipends. We, as Shorecrest students, want to emphasize our support for all Shoreline students and highlight the potential damage these cuts will bring. We speak on behalf of elementary and middle school students who may not be aware of these cuts or their impacts.
Additionally, Shorecrest students remain disappointed in the School Board’s handling of budget information and communication throughout the entire budget process. Students haven’t been effectively informed on where to find information regarding the budget process, and the information that is most readily available on the district website’s FAQs is vague and undescriptive. (For example, the questions regarding extracurriculars and ELO funding are met with answers such as “plans… are in progress” and “the funding for some of these opportunities may be affected to some degree.”) In addition, there has only been one School Board “listening session” at Shorecrest after April 4th, where students’ questions were met with more vague answers and students were informed of legal restrictions of what the board can share, without being informed of what those legal restrictions specifically were or where we could find them. Other budget information has been housed in slideshows or extensive PDFs, making information difficult to find. Much of this information has also been shared in mostly business terms that students cannot understand, and we don’t have someone to better explain it for us.
Today’s 90-minute limit on public comment makes us feel as though our voices are not valued and that the Board does not want to hear us, especially since it is regarding a similar issue as the April 4th meeting.
The consequences of the mishandling of this budget crisis are widespread. We, as students, are more likely to fall into false rumors, and often do not know what to advocate for since we are not clear on what might be potentially cut. We feel frustrated and anxious as we feel our voices have not been heard and our questions have been left unanswered.
Shorecrest students implore the Board:
- To make information more readily available, accessible, and easy to understand, through things such as mass emails and school announcements, that also include where to find more information;
- To make no cuts to ELO funding, including the ELO pots of money per school, as promised April 4th of this year;
- To make efforts to connect more with students and to be more involved in student activities throughout the district such as school events, club events, performances, and more so that they can better understand the importance of these activities;
- To ensure adequate student representation on the Board by guaranteeing student School Board Representatives have the right to advisory votes;
- To respect SESPA and support staff, as they are important components to our school, and deserve a prepared bargaining partner who works to save as many positions as possible.
Shorecrest students would also like to thank teachers, staff, parents, and students from other schools in the Shoreline School District for advocating on our behalf and making us feel heard. We would again like to note that we understand that there is no easy solution to this issue and that any cuts made will be painful, but Shorecrest students believe that the communication must be better and that the board must keep its promise in regard to ELO funding, especially since ELO pots are a drop in the bucket compared to other budget items, as it only makes up $150,000 of a $44,000,000 (0.34%) total budget .
This statement has been prepared with approval from student council and is protected by Article VI, Section 2 of our ASB Constitution which states that student council is tasked with the responsibility of representing the students of the school and provide for better communication within the district, and Article VIII, Section 3A of our ASB Constitution which states that our school board representative is to offer unbiased support for students who wish to take action on a District level, respectively.