In the Northshore School Board, proactive planning is a core value. To support the work of our district, we appreciate our legislators’ support in addressing these important items.
Special Education Funding
The funding gap for education continues, and is now at $18 million in Northshore for the 2019-2020 school year. Northshore is backfilling this shortage with local levy funds. Given that special education services are part of basic education, Northshore risks an audit finding for this expenditure that will cause our district to lose the same amount of levy authority as this special education expenditure, per SB5313. Before districts are forced to substantially cut special education programs to avoid the possibility of this penalty, we ask the legislature to fully fund special education and/or remove the penalty in SB5313 imposed for district expenditures.
Facilities Planning for Growth
With our in-house facilities team, a community task force and the service of a demographer, we continue to work at predicting student population growth. With Snohomish County’s current Urban Growth Boundary study, we see the possibility of substantial student growth in the near future. In addition to support of a Simple Majority bond passage threshold, we ask the legislature to consider requiring large development projects to include public schools as an intentional, significant part of their infrastructure.
Northshore is dedicated to transparent service to our students, but we continue to seek a better solution for accountability than the Smarter Balance tests, especially for our high school students. An SAT administered during the school day would provide accountability results in a fraction of the time, while offering an equitable opportunity for our students.
Updating the Prototypical School Model
In our efforts to improve social-emotional support for our students, we have noted that the Prototypical School Model (from 2009) does not include adequate counseling supports. We ask that the legislature consider creating a system to update the Model so we can begin to discuss the support of counseling and overall safety.
Plan for the Full Funding of SEBB
As districts are now fully realizing the financial impacts of SEBB, we ask that the legislature adequately fund the insurance program including requirements such as covering the cost of employees even if they have opted out of coverage, and the requirement to cover substitute teachers once they have hit an accumulated hour threshold (even if the position no longer needs any temporary services).
A few happenings in Northshore
- We continue to see substantial student growth. Our district now serves over 23,000 students and is the eighth largest in the state. Our district grows at the rate of an elementary school each year (from 500-700 students).
- We are in Year 3 of our five year Strategic Plan. In order to reach our goals, we continue to support students through many initiatives including: growing our Pre-K programs; expanding equitable access to programs such as High Cap, advanced math, and music; improved screening to identify dyslexic students; new innovative educational programs; evaluating ways to optimize our transportation system and the geographic balancing of our programs to support healthy start times; and increased opportunities in rigorous classes and CTE programs.
- We are on track to complete four large construction projects: a new elementary school; a 30 classroom addition to support a co-located elementary and middle school, and a new choice high school in a renovated office building this fall; and a performing arts complex at Inglemoor High School.