Friday Family Message
Let’s talk about “basic education.” This message is important, so stick with me! Around 2012, the Washington Supreme Court agreed with the opinion of a lower court that the state was not fulfilling its obligation to fully fund education.
As a result, the “McCleary decision” increased state property taxes and decreased the amount school districts could collect through local levies.
This has been interpreted by some as “the state now fully funds basic education.” However, the state's definition of “basic education” does not fund what is required to run a school district. That is why the state allows districts to run local levies. It acknowledges the gap between what the state funds and a district’s actual needs.
Why does this matter? Two reasons:
- School districts are and have continuously been funded through three main funding sources: state taxes + federal taxes + local levies. Levies fill the gap between what the state funds and schools require to function.
- “Basic education” is not the same as “actual education.” Think of a “base model” vehicle vs. one with better technology and gas mileage.
What does “basic education” fund or not fund?
The state has determined what they will fund schools based on enrollment. Those calculations do not reflect the actual costs of schools, staff, or students.
For example, in our 2023-24 budget, the state funds 4.3 positions of our 9.8 nursing staff, 17.6 positions of of 24.9 custodian staffing, and 0.8 of a position of our 9.2 safety and pupil supervision personnel. Our school district’s current Educational Programs & Operations (EP&O) enrichment levy helps bridge funding gaps in these ways:
In our school district, a Capital Projects & Technology levy expired at the end of 2022, and the current EP&O levy is set to expire at the end of 2024.
Without voters approving a replacement to the expiring EP&O levy, the funding we use to fill the gap outlined above goes away. This puts positions and programs in jeopardy of being eliminated.
Over the next several months, we will host levy information sessions open to our entire community. We ask our community to attend a session to learn more about how levies fund a significant portion of schools and to share your thoughts.
New fentanyl warning
Local law enforcement officials have issued new warnings after “rainbow” fentanyl pills were recently found in Snohomish County.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has also issued warnings about the “alarming emerging trend of colorful fentanyl” in the country that officials worry is aimed toward young people.
It is critical families understand the dangers of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more potent than morphine. Authorities are increasingly seeing a wide variety of other drugs being laced with fentanyl — such as traditional prescription opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone or illegal opioids like heroin.
A lethal dose of fentanyl may be less than 2 milligrams, the size of four grains of salt.
Fentanyl overdose deaths are skyrocketing. In 2021, there were more fentanyl overdose deaths than all other drug overdose deaths combined, according to the CDC. Synthetic opioids — mostly fentanyl — now kill more Americans every year than died in the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars combined.
In response to this crisis, our district stocks the opioid reversal medication Naloxone on each campus. It is accessible with our automated external defibrillator (AED) units.
Spartans + Mariners
High school students invited to join our team
We are extending an invitation to add more members to the existing Student-Superintendent Leadership Team (SSLT).
If your high school student is interested in joining, please share this link with your student. All high school students will also receive this link and message in their school email accounts.
The SSLT is a forum for students and the superintendent to discuss concerns, share ideas, and collaborate on initiatives that help guide district level decision-making.
Unique perspectives and voices at the table will help maintain environments that best support students. Students will also develop leadership, advocacy, and collaboration skills alongside a diverse community of peers.