Another big budget blow for Seattle Public Schools

Be very worried. The Seattle School District's about to be hit with even more cuts from its already reduced budget.

Last week, the Seattle School Board unanimously approved a $577.7 million 2011-12 budget that includes $45.5 million in cuts, including the elimination of 90 central office positions and mandatory unpaid furlough days for non-union employees. This marks the third year in a row of significant cuts for the district, including $34 million in 2009-10 and $31 million during 2010-11.

Most troubling this year, the district plans to deep-six elementary school counselors, a decision that could have considerable impact upon students. Counselors provide one-on-one support for students and help them solve social conflicts. Along with teachers, they also track student achievement and monitor at-risk students.

In addition, text and other "instructional materials" for high-school science and social studies, middle-school language arts, and elementary music have been put on hold.

"While this budget process has been difficult, we have worked hard to protect funding that directly affects our classroom and the academic achievement of our students," says School Board President Steve Sundquist in a press release.

It's hard to understand how cuts at this level won't directly affect classrooms and students.

It's a sorry state for Seattle Public Schools and for growth, learning and academic progress in our state.

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