The choice of words in describing the state of public school enrollment, “dwindling,” reflects a scarcity mindset that has harmed our children for decades [“How schools in Seattle are being affected by dwindling enrollment,” July 25, Local News]. Even with a slight slowing of enrollment, our community relies on public schools to prepare the next generation to build our nation’s future and to give children the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
Students at my school, Licton Springs K-8, were asked to move from the Robert Eagle Staff building to a building in Ballard during COVID-19. They were promised transportation by the district, but it fell short for many families, or came too late. Now we’re looking at enrollment declines in a building that many students had no way to get to.
Our state’s revenue hasn’t declined. Why would we punish schools with cuts? The current situation makes clear how our funding formula is broken. The slightly smaller enrollment gave us the opportunity to finally have the smaller class sizes and adequate resources our students have always deserved. We want to continue giving them those resources and build on them, especially since students’ needs have grown since the pandemic disruption. Students’ needs should drive funding, not just enrollment.
Liz Ruiz-Puyana, Seattle, Licton Springs K-8 teacher