Last year, we heard the district wail that there was no money, but you did have it, and in fact you made over $4 million more.
This year you say you want a budget that reflects the priorities of the district. A preliminary action plan was developed supposedly to help focus district reserves and put time, effort and money on improving student learning.
Out of the preliminary action plan came the Getting to Graduation plan. A focus on students starting in kindergarten, ensuring that there is a smooth transition for new students to Kent schools and from grade level to grade level. A plan to ensure that the graduation rates increased and students were ready for life beyond high school.
Add on the other programs and initiates like:
1) district’s move to implement tiered intervention
2) the outside experts brought in for training
3) the training that KEA members spent time at
4) the SIOP books (strategies for teaching English Language Learners) for every teacher and
5) the time and training that goes with SIOP
It all looks impressive and seems to focus on the students, but we can’t judge it by the impressions it gives on paper.
One third of the Getting To Graduation plan requires implementation and work from counselors – but they are now on the chopping block.
Those who were sent to training for tiered intervention – are now on the chopping block.
Those who are to provide training, strategies for teaching and best practices for student learning – are now on the chopping block.
The people who provide additional literacy and math support, another part of the Preliminary Action Plan – are now on the chopping block.
It is inconceivable that the resources used to develop this plan, pay for outside experts for training, train staff for implementation and monitoring was wasted.
The very people that the district counts on to do the training and implementation are now on the chopping block.
It is difficult to improve learning conditions for students when teachers, counselors, and support staff will not be available for students. If the district really wants to focus on student learning and success, then they need to find a way to ensure that no cuts affect student learning.