I was heartsick at the losses of the Centralia School District levies and I don’t even live in Centralia. But I do have an understanding of education in Washington state and the difficulties districts face. In fact, I have many first hand accounts.
So I was very disappointed to read Terry Overton’s opinion (May 18, 2023) in deciding why not to vote for their levy. I realize why many may not understand the need for extra special education dollars, which districts statewide are requesting, or what the acronyms MTSS, RTI and PBIS and their programs are all about. But did anyone bother to ask the importance of these to the Centralia School District?
Your district is capped at 13.5% for funding of students with special needs. No federal or state money is given for students above that percentage that may require or qualify for special help. It’s the district’s obligation to pick up that cost. In Centralia’s case, it seems to be $500,000 per year.
It is truly sad that education professionals aren’t trusted to know what their students require. Plus, how are the programs mentioned above: “actually counterproductive to the overall mission of educating our children?”
Public schools educate all children while dealing with more and more students with trauma, children born with fetal alcohol syndrome, low birthweight or have gone through drug withdrawal at birth. There are a myriad of issues students must deal with today in order to learn.
All you have to do is look at society as a whole and you may have an indication of the cognitive (mental) and behavioral (physical) issues with which children and teachers are dealing.
It’s good to know some district patrons realize the state does not cover good things for students including music, athletics, all technology, counselors, etc. But it also does not cover all educational programs, professionals and maintenance districts feel are of great importance for the wellbeing of their students and essential in running a school district.
Just ask yourself why it’s so hard for districts to get bus drivers, substitute teachers, special education teachers along with teachers in general to fill vacancies, including principals and superintendent in education today? These are real difficulties at present. Many teachers get out of teaching within five years. Why? It is a highly stressful job.
Bless those who stay and try to make a positive difference in educating all of today’s youth. Step into schools for an extended period of time and observe or trust the professionals that are there.
Not passing levies is a form of punishment to everyone for the things students may very well need to become educated, productive members of society when they leave their formative schooling years behind. All of this is integral not only to those individuals involved, but also to your community of Centralia.
When your schools thrive, so does your community.
Now your next question might be, how can I help the students and community to get through our losses.