Emotions high as Northshore School District the latest to face financial crisis

BOTHELL, Wash. — Parents and students are speaking out against major school cuts as districts across Western Washington are facing budget shortfalls.

The Northshore School District is the latest faced with making cuts.

The district has a projected $21 million shortfall and is planning to slash about 5% of its total budget. Officials say the district plans to cut at least six administrative jobs for the next school year.

Many students and parents voiced their concerns at a school board meeting Monday night.

Some were upset that the district plans to cut an assistant principal position at Innovation Lab High School.

“We feel it betrays the trust of families when you assure them the cuts are farthest from the classroom, and then cut a school leader that the students know and trust,” said Innovation Lab High School Advocacy Chair Diana Christianson.

At times, speakers at the meeting became emotional.

“My daughter also happens to share the same disability as myself. I’ve spent 40 years speaking to schools about dwarfism, inclusion, and bullying. When I walked into the doors of the Innovation Lab, I quickly figured out that this school was something special,” the parent of a special needs student said. “This is a space where she can feel safe and ready to learn, and we fear this is changing. My daughter was unable to come tonight because she’s so shaken and scared about her future at this school.”

State funding is tied to enrollment. The district said it lost about 600 students in the last few years and expects to lose 200 more students heading into the next school year.

The issue is not unique to the Northshore School District.

The Edmonds School District is among other districts dealing with a multimillion-dollar shortfall. The Edmonds School Board is holding a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Hundreds of parents, students, and faculty attended last week’s meeting as the district considers up to $15 million in cuts, which will affect a variety of programs, including special education and the arts.

Like last week, band students plan to hold a rally outside district headquarters about an hour before the meeting.

Meanwhile, as Seattle Public Schools deals with a $131 million deficit for the next school year, District 4 will be holding a community meeting Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the issues.

District 4 represents schools in the Ballard, Magnolia, Queen Anne, and Belltown neighborhoods.

The majority of proposed cuts are to the central office.

The district would save an additional $11.2 million by making cuts to school-based staff.

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