A Show of Support for Public Schools on Mercer Island

Educators, parents and students gather try to make their voices heard in photos for local legislators.

With budget cuts looming as lawmakers gather for a special session in Olympia, hundreds of students, parents and educators gathered Monday afternoon to show their support for public education.

Local PTAs and the arranged for teachers, parents and students to gather for photos at schools and to oppose proposed cuts in state funding. The State Legislature opens a special session today in an attempt to come to grips with a budget shortfall of approximately $2 billion. The local district currently receives .

Faced with a number of bad choices, school leaders expressed shared concerns — but differed in their views in what posed the biggest threat to local schools.

MIEA President Tani Lindquist said the single biggest threat from lawmakers to local education was a proposal to increase class sizes — by reducing the number of teachers.

"(That) makes it much harder for educators to meet the needs of individual students," she said. "Teachers need to have the ability to know and cultivate the interests and passions of individual students and then have the time to design programs to meet those needs."

Mercer Island School Board Director , on the other hand, disagreed with a proposal to shorten the length of the school year to save money.

"That's exactly the wrong direction," he said. "If anything, I'd like to see us expanding the number of school days, not reducing them."




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