Parent upset with White River School District’s choice of cuts | Enumclaw Letters
March 18, 2009 · Updated 4:17 PM
As a parent in the White River School District I am concerned about some of the programs being cut to meet the upcoming funding shortfalls. The superintendent, Mr. Lockyer, has presented the cut of ALL elementary P.E., health and music. I understand that large cuts need to be made due to the education funding shortfall at the state level and that no decision in this situation is easy, but do we need to risk our children’s health to save money?
How many kids don’t get exercise other then P.E. at school? How many children are learning healthy habits thanks to the health class? I believe that music is that artistic outlet and the break they need from the left-brain critical thinking they get exposed to most of the day in class. They can only concentrate on reading, writing and math so long.
Why, in the midst of all these changes, is Mr. Lockyer not getting the information out to parents? There is a little bit on the district Web site, but it’s not clear about these major changes. And why were principals informed by Mr. Lockyer that no sign may be put up or no flier may be held out during Family Reading Night to inform parents of these cuts? Why the secrecy?
Why haven’t I seen this information in your newspaper even though one of your reporters was at the last school board meeting and talked to Mr. Lockyer personally.
I know times are tough. I know the superintendent and school board are having an extremely difficult time making changes to meet the state funding shortfall, but let’s give parents input – or at least inform them.
district’s move on kindergarten
Editor’s note: The following was directed to Enumclaw Superintendent Mike Nelson and forwarded to this newspaper for publication.
I would really like to know why while we were all wringing our hands and upset about late starts on Wednesdays at the community meeting in the high school library, how come there was no mention made of the cut back to half-day kindergarten? Was it because you were already facing a community outcry over shortening hours on Wednesdays that you didn’t dare stir up a hornet’s nest further by addressing moving kindergarten to half days.
How come there was no public forum on this subject?
I am a very involved parent and watch my daughter’s folders and local papers for any news regarding the schools as well as attending PTA meetings and it’s possible I missed something but I am not aware of any reference made to taking kindergarten to half-days. The reminder I received for the PTA meeting on Tuesday this week only again referred to the topic of late starts on Wednesdays and made no mention that kindergarten would be discussed. Since I had already attended the community meeting on the Wednesday issue I opted to stay home as our driveway is still filled with ice and snow.
Had I known that kindergarten was being discussed I would have made a point to attend no matter what. My daughter is in second grade now but I have a son in preschool who we have been looking forward to his attending full-time kindergarten like his sister. My daughter is a whiz in school and I feel my son would especially benefit from a full-time schedule of learning.
At the community meeting you made a statement over and over again that you are mandated by the state to provide 180 days, 1,000 minutes of instruction for students. You did not specify that there is an exception for kindergarten. Please explain this.
Not only does this greatly affect my son’s learning opportunity in kindergarten which is my foremost primary concern, you must realize how this affects family schedules and budgets. Not everyone can afford the extra $250 a month to have kindergarten full-time or the additional expense to take time off work or arrange daycare for kids on a half-day schedule. Parents on a tight budget get squeezed either way.
This is a personal dilemma for us and I’m sure we’re not alone. I’d appreciate some feedback. As I understand it, the decision has been made and nothing can be done to change it at this time.
Upset with negative tone taken by some
I would like to commend the Enumclaw School District Board and Superintendent Mike Nelson for providing the public with an open forum in which to discuss the prospect of a weekly late arrival for K-12 schools. Its purpose is to allow staff to meet collaboratively to go over assessments and design instruction to meet the needs of each individual student. Everyone was invited to share their support or concerns in writing and/or verbally. I appreciate my voice being heard.
However, I was very disappointed in the manner in which many members from the Enumclaw and Black Diamond communities chose to state their opinions. A negative tone was established early on in the question-and-answer portion of the evening. As a few people began to phrase their questions or comments in a negative tone of voice or in an accusing manner, and then received applause, it seemed to give permission to others to do the same. I think it is a true lack of integrity to applaud anyone who speaks out disrespectfully. Everyone is entitled to express their opinion and I thank those of you who spoke out with respect. I applaud you!
Some individuals used the evening to vent issues that do not pertain to late arrival. A more appropriate avenue for those discussions would have been with classroom teachers and building principals.
When speaking in public, I believe everyone needs to remember that you are representing yourself and your community. People listen. Our children listen. We are their most important role models.
Lastly, whether you are in support of late arrival or not, please take a moment to let the district know. I am confident that all opinions are heard.
More concern over city’s
Better think twice before running out and buying your favorite hanging basket this year. Thanks to our wonderful minds at city hall, our sewer rates have grown 25 percent three years in a row and this year we should expect the same.
Our sewer rates now have a base rate and a rate that is based on how much water you use. A household of two today will pay close to $60 per month just for sewer and if you each flush once a day that’s a buck a flush. For you lucky retired folks living on Social Security, I would recommend using the city’s facilities or get a Splash Pass for $120 per year at our aquatic center. Get some exercise, shower, use restrooms and help our city keep the doors open.
If you do some calling you will find our fine city has some of the highest rates for utilities around. It’s looking more like a good place to raise kids then get out. If you need to have a garden this summer you can always convert to a thirsty cactus yard complete with serpents and lizards. You could always collect rainwater in 50-gallon barrels, don’t tell the city or they will find a way to tax your new water system.
If anyone else is paying attention, send a message to the mayor; this is not Bellevue and proliferation is not in our best interest. Complacency is dangerous; I encourage others to speak up now.
Finally, I would like to recommend to the City Council to include “Buck a Flush” in the current city branding. Any further use of “Buck a Flush” will need to be approved by a utility-paying customer of Enumclaw, they know how much it hurts to flush.