Northwest NEWS

December 27, 1999

Editorial

Secondary Alternative School staffing reductions opposed

   After reviewing Dr. Marchbank's staffing model proposal and attending the informational meeting at Bothell High School last night, I am compelled to respond in writing.

   I am appalled that our district is considering decreasing the Secondary Alternative School (SAS) staff. According to the proposal, SAS is being drastically reduced. The proposal states .5 principal positions (50% reduction), .5 school nurse position (50% reduction), .5 school counselor (50% reduction), and 2 teacher positions (20% reduction). This type of pointed reduction at SAS will impact all secondary schools in our school district. Currently my colleagues can refer students to SAS, feeling confident that SAS will provide a more intimate atmosphere. The proposal, if approved by the school board, will devastate our thriving program.

   Our principal, Dr. Len Fellez, is like a father to our students. He sets high standards and helps students to achieve them. He is the epitome of a true leader. He has been instrumental in initiating our own Certificate of Mastery, community service for students and staff, and providing a safe campus. To operate our school with a half-time principal is unwise and clearly detrimental to our students. Furthermore, assigning various administrative tasks to the principal is demeaning and truly a waste of Len Fellez's talents.

   This fall, the district will cut 1.4 teacher positions, and now the proposal suggests we lose 2 more teacher positions. If this is approved, we will have only 8 full-time teachers. This will certainly hurt our Northshore students. At this rate, the alternative school will soon have to close its doors.

   To reduce our school nurse position to part-time is a poor decision. Our school nurse, who has a nursing degree and is paid classified wages, is the best economic bargain in the Northshore School District. The school nurse, Marj Koch, in addition to her medical expertise, assists our educational program and advises students. Every Northshore school has one full-time nurse.

   As one of the school counselors, I am thrilled to work at SAS, where students are the priority. To have a successful educational experience, students need one full-time counselor position. To reduce this position by 50% will dramatically change the quality and quantity of counseling provided to our students.

   Our alternative school has the highest amount of graduates in the state. Let's do what is right for our students. Keep SAS thriving as a viable alternative school for all Northshore students.

Laurie Broulette, SAS School Counselor