Edmonds School Board to address $15M in cuts that would end some music, art classes

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — Students, parents, and faculty in Snohomish County are speaking out over proposed budget cuts.

On Monday, the Edmonds School Board will meet to discuss $15 million in cuts.

The proposed cuts would significantly impact arts and music programs across the district, slashing at least two music classes at every high school.

At Mountlake Terrace High School, the proposed cuts would end its only choir, two band classes, and a drama class.

“I was not in a good space mentally and the band program at the middle school especially gave me all my close friends. I’m still close friends with all of them. That’s what got me through those tough times,” Ryan, a senior who plays woodwinds, said on Tuesday. “I’ve been able to live through these programs.”

“Coming out of the pandemic, these kids were in really rough shape. We heard kids saying they didn’t want to be here anymore,” Lori Reese, a parent of a Mountlake Terrace High School student, said on Tuesday. “It’s the music that saved them. These kids need this program.”

The school board has already announced it will close the Woodway Center, which is attended by preschool and kindergarten students.

The cuts are due to a significant decline in student enrollment, which ties into the amount of funding the district receives from the state, according to the Edmonds School District.

Band students at Mountlake Terrace High School have been playing outside campus since Friday, surrounded by supporters (mostly parents) demonstrating against the cuts with picketing signs in hand.

On Tuesday, band students and families across the district plan to meet outside the Educational Service Center in Lynnwood at 6 p.m.

At 6:30 p.m. the school board will hold a special meeting to discuss the budget cuts.

The school board will also hold a virtual meeting at 4:30 p.m.

“These are the soft-spoken kids, the quiet, the reserved, the frightened,” Jill Espitia, the president of the Mountlake Terrace High School Music Boosters, said on Tuesday. “They need this more than ever, especially following the pandemic. And the district is wanting to take that away. They can find other places to find cuts. They need to dig deeper.”