One of the state’s longest legislative sessions is scheduled to end later this month, and resulted in the 11th-hour passage of a state budget with significant implications for our work as educators. Many of us are relieved the Legislature came to an agreement on an operating budget, and people working with those changes agree that sweeping and historic changes in how schools are funded and how we can spend both state and levy dollars are incredibly challenging.
These changes are so significant that it will take weeks for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and school districts to understand the ramifications of the deal made between the House and Senate behind closed doors. In addition, Gov. Inslee has vetoed key provisions affecting school districts, and there are likely to be other legislative adjustments affecting us before the third special session expires July 20.
To complicate life a bit more, plaintiffs in the McCleary case have very publicly raised questions about whether the budget and school legislation comply with the Supreme Court’s order. It is most likely we will not know the court’s decision on the state’s compliance for until the fall. Nevertheless, we will proceed with our budget approval process using the best available information, adapting as we receive new and relevant information over the next seven and a half weeks (school board
adoption is scheduled for August 29). If you’d like to watch our budget presentation for the first reading
, I recommend you visit the July 5 regular meeting agenda in BoardDocs.
In addition to the impact of legislative changes, we’re about to benefit from major program and capital investments in our students and schools. All of our elementary schools will begin using new English language arts instructional materials. Five of our schools will shift to a 1:1 computer-integrated instruction model, with each student accessing a tablet or laptop. Major Advanced Placement and world language adoptions were approved by our board for our high schools this coming year. And we’ll be launching improved parent gradebook access and a new mobile app this fall. And there is so much more innovation than this underway in our schools.
We’ve developed a remarkable and incredibly productive climate and collaborative spirit in our Everett Public Schools. Although the changes in school funding and operations laws will affect all of us over the next four years, you can rest assured we’ll work be working closely all of our employee associations, parents, and our community as we transition through these changes. Please look for additional information in several installments over the next two months.
I hope you have a restful summer and find time to enjoy family, friends and some outdoor activities in this beautiful weather.
Dr. Gary Cohn