Board advocates for funding on behalf of ISD students

The Issaquah School Board last week sent letters to state and county officials regarding financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and funding for the Issaquah School District. 
“We have been, and will continue to advocate with Washington State Superintendent Chris Reykdal, state legislators and King County leaders for additional funding necessary to provide the academic and social-emotional supports that all students in Washington deserve, as well as to fund the Department of Health requirements to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 for our students and staff to the greatest degree possible,” said Dr. Harlan Gallinger, who is currently serving as the Board’s Legislative Representative. Gallinger presented two letters for the board members to discuss and collaborate on during the Oct. 28 board meeting. 
“Direct COVID-19 impacts to the Issaquah School District -- excluding enrollment declines -- exceeded $21 million during the first 18 months of the pandemic, and the costs are ongoing,” Gallinger added. “The district received only $7 million in federal educational recovery dollars and zero funding for the public health mitigations we have implemented, whereas an average Washington state school district our size received $64 million.”   
The letter to OSPI is in reply to an unsatisfactory response from State Superintendent Chris Reykdal in early October. Specific areas of concern include the amount of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds that will be allocated to our students, the discussion the Board had with Congressional staff, and the algorithm that will be used to determine distribution of ESSER III. To read it, click here
The letter to King County addresses additional funding given to Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC), while additional funding has not been distributed to the district. While PHSKC has been a valuable support to ensure the necessary COVID-19 mitigation, the implementation of such measures has fallen solely on the District. For the letter to King County, click here.
“This significant financial impact is unique to Issaquah compared to some of our neighboring districts, and why our district has experienced Reduction-In-Force actions and has less support in our buildings than surrounding districts,” Gallinger said. “We would encourage students, families, and community members to review our letters and to join us in our advocacy to state and county leaders for adequate funding for Issaquah students and staff.” 
To listen to the discussion of relief funding, watch our YouTube Channel: ISD School Board Meeting Oct. 28, 2021.