The Mercer Island School Board supports Education Reform as a means of providing the best possible education for Washington state students with appropriate levels of accountability. We believe a strong K-12 education system is a non-negotiable pre-requisite for a strong community, a strong state and a strong future. The framers of the state constitution recognized this, above all else, when they called education the paramount duty of the state. Given this, we are dismayed that the share of state funding allocated to K-12 education has decreased steadily in the state budget.
We believe the legislature must provide each and every school district the tools needed to provide the best possible education for its students. These tools include adequate sources of funding to achieve education reform objectives while holding districts accountable for meeting said goals. It is time to ensure enough funding is provided to meet the well thought out reform goals.
It is critical that the legislature provide the means by which all districts can attract and retain the best possible teachers and education staff for our communities. We face huge teacher turnover:
These are teachers whom we can’t afford to lose to other districts and other professions because of housing costs (though many told us that’s why they leave). Their work is too critical and their knowledge base is extremely costly to replicate. These costs are magnified when one considers the negative impact such turnover has on students.