Dear friends and neighbors:
125 years ago today, Dec.14, Broadway School, our very first school building, opened in 1891. Emma Yule was our first school teacher for the 26 students who showed up. By February 1892, Emma became our first principal. Students trekked from far and wide to attend, and soon the district needed to rent school space to accommodate all the students. In March 1892, the school board decided to run a bond election to buy property and build more schools. That bond was approved, and so began Everett Public School’s road to growth. By the way, our December enrollment was 19,701 students, which pencils out to 75,673 percent growth since 1891!Were it not for the courage, the judgment, and the dedication of these early pioneers, and those who followed them, we would not have the tremendous community and schools we have today. The events of the past few months have reinforced for me just how much we have to be thankful for in our work and in our daily lives. Thanks to the $149 million bond voters passed last spring, we’ve begun the design process for our 18th elementary school, and for the modernization of North Middle School (the Woodside modernization effort will begin in the near future).
Thanks to the $89 million capital levy our voters passed, we’ve begun the staff training necessary to transform our instruction to implement a one-to-one technology platform for our students, and the design work to create safer entryways for eight of our elementary schools this summer. We’ve also begun to purchase the portables needed to accommodate the growth we project in the near future. Did you know we expect 1,200 more students by 2022? That’s 6 percent growth as we pass our 130th birthday!
Gov. Inslee proposed $3.9 billion in new funding for K-12 schools. His office announced this would boost overall K-12 spending to 50 percent of the state budget for the first time in more than 30 years, and would meet the state Supreme Court’s order to fully fund basic education and end long-standing disparities between property-poor districts and their wealthier counterparts. While this is the opening salvo in what pundits project will be one of the longest sessions ever, the message is clear: it’s time to amply fund our schools and receive the results expected of that investment.
In a season of many celebrations, of warmth, of family, of good cheer, and of much thanks, it’s good to remember where we began and what it took to get us to this splendid day in our history: 125 years old!
Dr. Gary Cohn