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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

District approves reduced budget

©HAWKEYE image credit: Lucas Barquin

Facing a $10.6 million budget deficit, the Edmonds School Board approved the reduced educational program on April 23 that will have far-reaching consequences for staff and students across the district. During the meeting, several people stood up to advocate for both the work experience and music programs, both of which ultimately had cuts. 

The cuts for band however, were limited to just fifth grade band. According to School Board Director Nancy Katims’, fifth grade band was already likely to be cut in the next few years when the district transitions to a 6-8th grade middle school model. 

All in all, cutting the fifth grade band saved almost $700,000 a year, about 6 percent of the overall budget. Many of the larger worries about elementary band being cut entirely ultimately didn’t come to pass, as was the case for the concerns that high school and middle school band and orchestra would be rolled back, as these were preserved unscathed in the new budget. 

When speaking about the possibility of avoiding the band/orchestra cuts entirely, Nancy Katims said that if $766,000 could be found elsewhere, then yes. Katims also noted that no matter what, elementary students will still have music education in schools through general music education.

The work experience program also had cuts in its new budget program. The program is designed to help those with mental disabilities adjust to life and grow their independence. Several parents, students, and educators in the program advocated for the School Board to reconsider the cuts to the curriculum. However, their efforts were ultimately unsuccessful, as the board approved the budget that had cuts to the program built in. Instead of the curriculum being run out of Edmonds-Woodway, it will be run out of each student’s local high school.

The biggest single cut came from the district’s central office administration, which had a 15 percent slash to its budget. These cuts saved $3 million. The school district eliminated one assistant superintendent and administrative assistant at the district, among other cuts to the central office staff. Some students have suggested that the cuts should be solely to central administration, however, according to Katims, this would be difficult as the Edmonds School District already has a smaller percentage of its budget dedicated to central administration compared to other major districts around the state. While administrative cuts could fully cover the cost of the budget deficit, this would require moving a lot of the work currently done in the central office to school staff, which could place an undue burden on teachers and office staff throughout the district.

Another major reduction was in paraeducator hours. Paraeducators are like teachers, but don’t require the same certificatin. While they don’t teach classes, they help  other teachers and staff in the education of students. They operate mainly in assisting young learners in elementary grades, with fewer in middle and high school. Paraeducator hours will be reduced by 20 hours per day district wide, saving $173,000. It’s worth noting that paraeducator hours are already lower than where they likely need to be, so cuts to paraeducators positions will dig further into an already underfunded resource. According to Katims, it’s also important to know that paraeducator funding is already severely underfunded by the state. 

Several community programs were impacted by the budget cuts by the district, including the Student Leadership Conference and Kindergarten Jump Start programs. These two budget cuts trimmed $20,000 and $242,000 respectively. The Student Leadership Conference has been around just three years. Currently on the district website, it says that Jump Start will not be offered next school year. However, according to Katims, these programs have a chance of being funded through the Edmonds Schools Foundation. Meaning that there is a chance that these programs will remain intact through other funding sources even if they go unfunded by the district.

While these cuts are relatively small compared to those affecting other programs, they are still necessary due to the size of the district’s budget deficit. Without cuts to programs and others like these for example, elementary band/orchestra could risk being cut entirely.

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Another major cut comes to Student Intervention Coordinators (SICs). 

Student Intervention Coordinators are staff that help to step in and prevent conflicts among students within schools. These will be cut from middle and high schools entirely with some positions also being cut at the elementary level. They were cut despite community concerns voiced at a recent school board meeting, with one woman, Natalie Smith, recounting the story of how her granddaughter was heavily bullied at Edmonds-Woodway High School, thanking disciplinary staff for preventing the situation from getting worse. She advocated against cuts to the positions across the district, drawing applause from the crowd. These cuts will save a combined $695,000, about 7 percent of the overall district budget. 

According to Katims, the root of the problem is not the school district, but funding given to each school district statewide. State funding currently comprises about 72 percent of the district’s budget, and statewide funding has become an increasingly smaller amount of the overall state budget.

Additionally several other districts across the state are currently in similar situations, with some in even worse financial positions than the district. The problem isn’t just isolated to the Edmonds School District.

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About the Contributors
Evan Kerani
Evan Kerani, Sports Editor
Evan Kerani is a reporter for HSM who joined after being coerced into joining by Vince DeMiero. He hopes that through HSM he will become a better writer and gain journalistic experience. In his free time, he enjoys arguing with people on the internet (and in real life) about politics and also enjoys writing poetry. He also enjoys reading mainly non-fiction books about a variety of topics. After high school he plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison and study political science.
Lucas Barquin
Lucas Barquin, News Editor
Lucas Barquin joined HSM because he enjoyed writing and wanted to join a group where he could continue writing with others. Lucas’ goal is to write about important topics, and to make every student feel seen and heard. In his free time Lucas enjoys drawing, listening to music and playing D&D. His post high school plans are to attend an art school for graphic design and illustration.
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