School Board Hears Scriber Lake High School Advocates

School Board Hears Scriber Lake High School Advocates

Scriber Lake High School advocates and alumni showed up at the Edmonds School Board meeting on June 25 to support the school in response to looming budget cuts that they said would jeopardize the Edmonds alternative high school. Alumni who have gone on to achieve success in their lives attributed their careers and personal achievements to the school’s caring staff and the personalized attention it gives to students with learning and social challenges.

Elizabeth Clark said Scriber Lake went out of its way to help the students.

“Scriber Lake is many things, and was, everything (to me),” said 2010 alumnus Elizabeth Clark, who feared the school would “disappear.”

The former Scriber student added that “teachers and staff helped me on the journey of healing after my mother passed away. They gave us their time. They gave us their hope even when we had lost hope in ourselves.”

Roberto Garcia of Lynnwood High School, joined by Vice Principal Justine Locke, asked members of the public with experience in grant writing to offer their skills to the school and, as a result, to the community.

School board members also heard concerns about budget cuts related to the loss of psychologists and student intervention coordinators. One student intervention coordinator, Roberto Garcia, took the stage to urge community members to come together for support during the district’s budget cuts.

Board members addressed the fears of commentators by assuring them that Scriber Lake High School would not disappear, despite budget cuts. Board President Nancy Katims said she wished they would voice these concerns to state lawmakers who needed to hear them. She said the board and concerned residents had formed an advocacy group in response to last year’s budget cuts and urged members of the public to email her for information on how to join the group.

Board Chair Nancy Katims thanked staff for their efforts in ensuring the cuts were transparent and communicated to the public well in advance.

Katims’ sentiments were echoed by fellow board members, who also said they resented having to cut programs and staff in response to the district’s $10.6 million deficit. Outgoing board member Deborah Kilgore reminded listeners that school board members are not compensated — and that they, like the speakers, wanted to support their local school system. Kilgore called the state’s public school funding “manipulation,” citing state mandates that required more work and setting educational goals without providing additional funding. She said cuts to education spending also ultimately had a greater impact on the most vulnerable members of the community.

Board member Deborah Kilgore urged the public to join the advocacy group. While it may not help now, it may in the future.

The community has focused on supporting local students. Tuesday’s meeting included the acceptance of several district grants to support drama, visual arts and music programs. An agreement with Foundry10 will fund three Family Resource Advocate positions and 2.4 full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers for high school drama and visual arts electives. The board accepted a grant from the Foundation for the Edmonds School District that will fund 1.4 FTE to support music and visual and performing arts instruction at each of the district’s middle and high schools. The board also renewed its partnership with the foundation.

Other topics discussed during the board meeting include:

  • A unanimous vote to approve a new high school health curriculum.
  • A unanimous vote to approve state-mandated changes to Title I parent/family involvement policies
  • A unanimous vote approving changes to the school’s animal policy. Changes mean that therapy and emotional support animals will be removed from this policy. Service animals with a specific function are still allowed.
  • A public request for more bus drivers, as schools under construction have to divert students to other areas.

– By Jasmijn Contreras-Lewis