What Highland Park Elementary students asked Governor Inslee to ‘think about’

(WSB photos and video)

11:36 AM: That’s Gov. Jay Inslee reading a letter from first-graders at Highland Park Elementary during his visit this morning. They asked if he would consider more money for their school because they need it for afterschool programs, playground equipment, and supplies including pencils. “Can you please think about it and get back to us?” they concluded. The governor was there to talk about education funding, as well as to tour the school:

(L to R with governor, First Lady Trudi Inslee, HPE assistant principal Sharon Stone, principal Chris Cronas)

We got a few minutes to speak with the governor; among other things, he says he expects to sign the “levy cliff” bill – which will alleviate some of the current public-education-funding crisis – within a few days, as soon as it arrives on his desk. We’ll be adding to this story later, including video and more photos.

ADDED MONDAY EVENING: The governor spoke with students, including a sort of quick quiz on civics:

He looked in on what they were working on:

And he read from a book he and Trudi wrote and illustrated for their grandchildren:

Then a few minutes were set aside to talk with reporters – our photographer and two TV crews.

The governor said he expects the school-funding situation to be resolved this year. And he said it’s vital for kids like the students at Highland Park – many of whom need extra support at school because of trauma in their lives outside school: “These kids deserve schools that function.”

9 Replies to "What Highland Park Elementary students asked Governor Inslee to 'think about'"

  • North of Admiral March 13, 2017 (1:34 pm)

    Let’s start with funding the schools like you are legally obligated to do Gov. Inslee…and are in contempt of court for not doing. You are more than happy to take our tax dollars though.

    My kids are both in public schools in West Seattle and it is getting worse and worse. Large classes and many disruptive students who teachers spend most of their time disciplining and not actually teaching. It’s not fair to any of the kids. The kids acting up need extra attention and deserve an education…and the kids who aren’t acting up need to have an environment they can learn in.

    My family has finally had enough and the kids will be going to a private school next year. Sadly I can barely afford it but it is important to me that they get a good education. SPS class sizes are likely going to reach 40 in the next year or so. Teachers are going to be let go at the end of this school year.

    It’s sad – and I don’t see our state leaders trying to make it a priority to fix.

    • JanS March 13, 2017 (2:13 pm)

      I believe the funding of schools is the job of our state legislators…maybe we could start there. I don’t blame Inslee…he can recommend budget, but it’s ultimately not his job to decide. Republicans are in the majority,  and they don’t think it’s worth spending the money on, I’m supposing…priorities, priorities…

    • Andy March 14, 2017 (7:14 am)

      As a former Seattle Public Schools teacher, with 31 years experience, lack of discipline in the classroom was the biggest obstacle I had to deal with. I finally decided to retire early rather than face the stress of another year watching disruptive students make learning difficult for those who wanted to learn. I actually had gotten to the point of advising concerned parents to send their children to a private school if at all possible. 

      There are few countries on the planet Earth that spend more money per capita on public education than we do. Yet, the results shown do not reflect the desired expectation. In my experience, lack of money was not the issue. Instead, it was a lack of prioritization in how the money was spent.

  • AJP March 13, 2017 (1:43 pm)

    In case people don’t know, Highland Park has no playground. The kids play on a blacktop. That’s it. 

    • JB March 13, 2017 (3:19 pm)

      That is incredibly sad.

    • Lauren March 13, 2017 (9:39 pm)

      Meh. My kids go to HPE and they love recess even without slides. The kindergarten class has their own party equipment. Plus they’re redoing the whole playground soon.

  • JB March 13, 2017 (3:22 pm)

    I’m glad to see him visiting the schools and to hear he’s signing the levy cliff bill. Hopefully it will give them enough time to get the budget situation figured out before we are facing the same issue again next year.

  • Michele March 13, 2017 (9:25 pm)

    My kid is one of the aforementioned “disruptive” kids at Highland Park. Today, he chose to take recess in the office and told me all about the governor saying hello to him. To take the time to do that seriously left an impression on his young mind. The fact that someone so important in his eyes took the time to recognize him meant the world to him, and, all politics aside, I’m extremely grateful for his kindness. My dude will remember it forever….

  • Lalura Drake March 14, 2017 (6:44 am)

    I was  an arts teacher at HP for nine years.  I’m so glad to see the governor shine a light on that wonderful, diverse West Seattle schoolhouse.

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