The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

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The Hawkeye May 2024
1st Amend Award School

Proposed budget cuts could eliminate many electives

What you need to know before the upcoming School Board meeting

The phrase “Fight for the Performing Arts” on bright red posters has been in front of students the past week in an effort to gain support for Terrace’s performing arts programs – band, choir, and drama – that face major cuts due to a shortfall in district funding. The cuts to these programs would be to cut two band classes, the only choir class, and the only drama class. Other departments at Terrace and across the district have shared with their students about their own cuts due to enrollment throughout electives and Career and Technical Education (CTE). STEM saw a proposed fall in funding resorting to possibly having to cut a teacher, and some electives such as anatomy and physiology would be eliminated completely. Core classes (math, science, English, history) may see a reduction in classes offered but no proposed elimination of core classes is projected. This reduction of classes would lead to some teachers moving to part-time and some classes would see major increases in size by up to 40 students, according to the Edmonds Education Association. This may lead to some teachers looking at other districts for jobs.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 18 at the Educational Service Center, 20420 68th Ave. W. Lynnwood. The budget will be the primary agenda item. 

Many students, mainly performing arts students, plan to attend to advocate for their program by speaking at the meeting, as do STEM students and other students that will face changes from the first round of projected cuts. 

Mountlake Terrace Music Boosters has been very vocal online and at school about these cuts having the pep band play in the mornings as students arrive and asking for advocacy online to email board members, state representatives, and even the Principal Greg Schellenberg. This platform has been effective in getting the word out as well as having students share their stories including the achievements of the ESD music programs. Still, the initial budget proposals indicate severe or even total cuts to music classes across all high schools and middle schools. 

The Latino Student Union (LSU) will also be advocating at the meeting to speak on how important the social workers in the district are as their advisor, Victoria Castaneda, will also be facing the effects of these projected cuts. 

STEM and the music program have launched petitions on and students plan to attend the meeting early seeing as it’s expected to be very crowded. 

These budget cuts are due in part to decreased enrollment numbers since 2017 and ESD no longer receiving additional state and federal funding specifically during the pandemic. 

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Enrollment in the ESD saw a dip from about around 19,200 students in January 2020 to 18,700 in January 2021. Enrollment is also impacted by  Running Start and alternative education services. The bulk of enrollment that decreased is in the younger grades and the budget forecasts around 18, 350 FTE students for the next school year. These numbers are what dictates the amount of funding the district gets from the state.

Salaries and benefits make up roughly 87 percent of the district’s budget. Like other districts, ESD funds some additional needed staff more than the state allocates through local levy funds. The remaining 13 percent covers materials, supplies, and general operating costs, including utilities, insurance, transportation, food, and supplies.

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Kaylee Miyamoto
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    Matthew J MenteleJun 14, 2023 at 7:48 am

    I don’t understand how this is happening! How many students are involved in the arts programs vs sports? What are the numbers regarding funding of these programs? Where can I find this data?