Letter: Small districts at disadvantage

Published:

 

In his Nov. 8 letter, "Equalize funding for all schools," Dan Sheadel remarked about the importance of schools outside of Clark County that are not well funded and the need to provide the same level of funding as our wonderful district in Vancouver.

Many aren't aware that the first lawsuit, filed in 1976, to define and fully fund basic education for all schools in Washington state was suppose to do just that. We have 295 districts. The Washington Association of School Administrators estimates 125 to 175 are classified as small schools, some with only a few hundred students. They were not represented.

Large schools, universities and CEOs were heard, and the results were a disaster. Many educators tried for years to get our legislators to visit those schools and have their eyes opened to this crisis. Our own politicians in Vancouver have never visited those districts such as Chimacum, located on the Olympic Peninsula, that filed the latest lawsuit.

Large schools have administrators who write grants, can attend state meetings and learn where they can get extra money for special education and vocational programs. Until our legislators involve small schools in defining basic education, it is impossible to fully fund schools at all levels. I speak as a retired school administrator and grant writer.

Austin Shotwell

Vancouver