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Edmonds School Board greeted with packed house over proposed budget cuts

LYNNWOOD, Wash. — Students, parents and faculty lined up to plead their cases before the Edmonds School Board Tuesday night.

The Edmonds School District is facing a $15 million budget shortfall.

Now, many families are trying to save school programs that are on the chopping block. Hundreds gathered at a special school board meeting.

Some of the most vocal people are connected to music and arts programs, which would be significantly impacted by the proposed cuts.

Band students from across the district played outside the meeting 30 minutes before it began.

“When you are considering taking funding away from already underfunded programs, just remember that might take a little bit of humanity out of an upcoming generation,” one person said during the public comment period, which lasted for nearly two hours.

Music and arts programs aren’t the only proposed casualty of the cuts. The school district will close the Woodway Center, where kindergarteners and preschoolers attend classes.

It wasn’t too long ago that the district was growing, but since then, enrollment numbers, which are tied to state funding, are dropping drastically.

Since 2020, 985 students have left the district and officials expect that total number to reach 1,135 next year.

The drop results in a reduction of about $12 million compared to where the district was several years ago.

Some proposed cuts focus on jobs and programs, including special education.

“Our students have a fundamental right to access education alongside their general education peers, and to push students with neural and developmental differences out of their current social circle in school communities is both wrong and incredibly harmful,” said Sherwood Elementary School teacher Jennifer Roper.

Tuesday was the first reading of the proposed cuts. The second reading and recommendations will go before the school board in week.

State law requires that any teachers who may be affected must be notified by May 15.