Public Education is the bedrock of civil society. Over the decades, we have been chipping away at education at the detriment of our children’s future, but we know if we spend more money on schools, we create better outcomes for ALL students and create better opportunities for our democratic and civil society.
SPS families are frustrated and tired of the chronic underfunding of schools in the State of Washington. A lot of that is structured due to the upside-down tax system in the State of Washington.
The urgency of advocating for our schools NOW is because the legislative structure of our State is informed by data and money spent from PREVIOUS years — and that includes our year in a pandemic.
Enrollment in SPS has declined for various reasons, including families holding back their kindergarteners, homeschooling options, and private and charter school options. We need to reach out to our legislators and advocate for the state to hold our district harmless for the loss of enrollment and ridership, therefore granting SPS the full amount of federal funds for COVID relief.
What is at Stake?
ACCESS TO FEDERAL DOLLARS
Federal dollars/ESSER (Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief) have been allocated to our state. $52,097,212 is the ESSER amount designated to Seattle Public Schools. However, the state is deducting $17,002,203 for estimated enrollment decline and $22,832,766 for estimated transportation decline, leaving only $12,262,243.
This call to action is to tell our legislators the impact to our community if they chose to withhold the funding originally allocated to our district. Click here to find the contact information for your legislators by district. ESSER Funds FAQ
Bill to Support: SHB 1476 (Capital Budget)
Due to the pandemic, there was a loss of enrollment. Enrollment is the driver behind the amount of funding Seattle Public Schools gets from the state. We are asking the legislators to hold harmless all WA Public School Districts (or have grace) for the dramatic loss in education due to Covid-19
Due to the pandemic, there was a loss of transportation because the school was remote. As a result, ridership went down to 0. Obviously, the legislative body could not imagine a pandemic when it wrote its laws. We are asking the legislative to have some grace and allocate budget based on the ridership in 2019
HOW CAN YOU HELP ADVOCATE FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS
- You can call the Legislative Hotline: 1.800.562.6000 and leave a message for your Legislators. You can do this in your preferred language and your message will be translated for your Legislators.
- You can email your Legislators. Find your Legislators by using the District Finder at https://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/
Sharing your personal story is preferred, but you can also cut and paste the sample letter here
Dear [insert your Legislators here],
I am writing to ask you to advocate for and to support enrollment stabilization for schools in the budget this year. Every school in every district has been impacted by the COVID pandemic, and every child deserves as much support and stability as we can give them.
Please make sure that all of our schools maintain the funding that they need to come through this emergency situation whole. We know that enrollment is down right now, but we also hear from our friends who have unenrolled that they intend to enroll in public school again. Some will come back as soon as schools re-open, and others will wait until it is safe for their families to come back, but families are continuing to engage in the PTSAs of the buildings that they have temporarily left, and to stay connected to their public school communities. Please don’t force districts to make permanent changes based on a temporary situation. Our youth need stable, funded schools.
Can I count on you to support our youth, our teachers, and our public schools by supporting enrollment stabilization in the budget without relying on using ESSR money that was intended to address learning loss?
For more information about the budget and why this is so critically important, view the presentation slides