Letter to the Editor: Cadematori, Stewart, Pettit and Stouffer will get ESD back on track

Reader Joseph King believes it’s time to bring fresh eyes on to the Board.

Both driving around downtown and surrounding outskirts of Enumclaw, I have noticed many signs urging you to vote for certain school board candidates. I decided to do some research so that I could make a responsible decision on who to vote for.

My first order of business was to go to a current school board workshop and find out how things were run. I was dismayed at several aspects witnessed.

First, three district administrators introduced an assessment technology program which would identify deficiencies in student learning and help improve scores. A comparable program called IReady was implemented 15 years ago in Carbonado where I was a 27 year veteran teacher and network administrator. With this info, I checked the average scores between Carbonado and Enumclaw for the 2022/23 and found that students passed in Carbonado at 61.7% and Enumclaw with 48.33%. So my question is, how come it took so long for Enumclaw to identify and respond to deficiencies in their students?

Second: Why were there three administrators presenting to the board where one could do the job? As a numbers guy, I found that between the years 2020/21 and this year budgeted 2023/24 an increase of 45.2% increase was made to the Central Administration. 2020/21 – $4,650,898, and 2023/24 – $6,753,074. This represents many new central administration hires. For 23/24, Enumclaw has budgeted $80 million for 4282 students or $18,883 per student which is considerably higher than other surrounding districts. Is Enumclaw too top heavy?

Third: I feel there is skepticism from the public and lack of trust on school bonds and levies because of recent 75% rejection of school bond vote. Why?

I realize there are many variables in comparing a small district like Carbonado to Enumclaw’s much larger district. I would suggest you go to OSPI: https://washingtonstatereportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/ReportCard/ViewSchoolOrDistrict/ and compare Enumclaw with White River – Very comparable districts but White River’s 23/24 budget is $9 million less than Enumclaw’s ($71 million) making its cost/student $16,686, about $2000/less per student. This simply solidifies my analysis and observations on the first and second aspects above. And, White River’s scores are 10% higher than Enumclaw’s with them spending considerably less.

So it looks like the community should change the existing school board members who have allowed this to happen and replace them with thoughtful and qualified candidates who will improve student education. Vote for Vivian Cadematori, Jimmy Stewart, Tonya Pettit or Ben Stouffer. I have talked to each of these and feel they will lead the district in a much better direction.

Joseph King