Cleveland Journal

More money, less problems

2018-19 budget allows for new staff hires

Andrew Cornel, Staff Reporter

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In 2012, the state Supreme Court ordered the state to fully fund K-12 public schools as required by Article IX of the Washington Constitution. It’s taken several years for Washington state to fully fund public education under the McCleary Decision. Last November, lawmakers passed a four-year budget to work with the McCleary case. The move means Cleveland now has more money at its disposal, and the opportunity to use the new budget in places where the money is needed.

Under the new budget, CHS is able to hire more staff for the 2018-19 school year.

“Instead of having two counselors, we are going to have three,” said Principal George Breland.

The new budget also allows the school to add a humanities and math position. The Building Leadership Team (BLT) chose to put the money towards hiring new teaching staff because of Cleveland’s growing population.

Science teacher Greg Kowalke escaped layoffs for the first time in three years.

“Having an increase in budget … means our class sizes can go down,” said Megan Claus, Academic Intervention Specialist. “Smaller class sizes have proven to be good for students.”

Science teacher and BLT member Greg Kowalke has been on the chopping block for the past three years, but under the new budget he doesn’t have to worry about being laid off.

“This is the first year where my job here at Cleveland is assured; I will definitely be here next year,” said Kowalke. “That hasn’t happened … before. My job is not going to get cut this year.”

One of the reasons why Seattle Public Schools is getting more money next year is because the state is preparing to move toward a 24-credit graduation requirement. Since most high schools in Seattle have a six-period day, students must pass every single course every year to graduate.

Cleveland students have the benefit of earning 32 credits over their high school career. The district has taken notice of the school’s model and wants other schools to immolate CHS.

According to the SPS website, schools are not planning major schedule changes to the school day, but many will offer before and after school periods to support student learning.

“They are talking about what we do at Cleveland – an eight-period day – that’s still being negotiated and individual schools are talking about it,” said Kowalke.

Adding a new counselor will lessen the workload of the two counselors that Cleveland has now.

“The new counselor will work just with 9th graders from both … academies, therefore that person’s case load will be a little smaller than ours,” said Head Counselor Avery Manning.

Manning and SoED counselor Napsiyah Sallee will keep the same caseloads for grades 10-12.

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More money, less problems