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LTTE: Concerned over proposed cuts to school district budget

Published March 5, 2020

Dear Board President and Members of the Ferndale School Board:

In our role of long-standing community partner and advocate for drop-out prevention, community building, and trauma-informed Social Emotional services provided at Vista Middle School, we want to extend our support in pursuing a second run for the recently rejected levy proposal. We understand that the next dates to re-submit and re-engage with the public are coming up fast, and we are making ourselves available to you as allies in promoting the benefits of passing the levy among all key stakeholders in the Ferndale community.

As a proud community partner to the Ferndale School District and as an active member of the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce, Communities In Schools (CIS) of Whatcom-Skagit County shares with you a deep sense of urgency and concern over the proposed cuts to the Ferndale School District’s budget for Academic Year 2020-2021, and beyond.

The most alarming cuts we saw in a recent Board’s presentation to the public were those related to defunding Latino and Native American services, and key personnel such as counselors and student advisors for these underserved populations. The other targeted positions which are critical in addressing issues of access and equity in education for disenfranchised communities were the District’s Social Emotional Coordinator and all Family and Community Coordinators. SEL and Family Engagement & participation will suffer irreparable damage if this measure becomes a reality, especially among low-income and “in-risk” populations.

We believe in your vision, as laid out in the District’s Strategic Plan and the District’s areas of priority. We also believe in the power of community building, community resiliency, and the inherent capacity of Public Will to transform the lives of our children and youth by properly investing to prevent systemic disparities through earmarked resources in our public schools. We believe every Ferndale resident is a strong protective factor to their schools and community.

We look forward to working with you in harnessing the power of that resilient Public Will that dwells in every home of the beloved and innovative Ferndale community.

With deep Respect & Solidarity,

Ario E. Salazar
Executive Director
CIS of Whatcom-Skagit


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