- 295 school districts
- 2,300+ schools
- over one million students
- 53,600 + teachers
- $13.78 billion annual budget (2011-13)
When it comes to school governance, Washington is also a “local control” state. That means the bulk of the decisions that impact how our schools are run and what your child’s life is like in school come not from Olympia but from the school district and the school board. This is especially the case for financial management of schools, which are run entirely by elected school boards in collaboration with school district staff.
With 295 school districts there is more variation in how schools are run than you might realize.
If parents want to learn more about their schools, the first step is to understand the school district and school board, how they are organized, what their governance structure is, and how much parents are involved in decision-making.
How can parents get started? Try any one (or more) these:
- Go to a PTA meeting. Find out whether your school principal attends them.
- Go to a school board meeting. Check out the agenda. Listen to the discussion and the votes. What topic is getting the most time?
- Visit your school district website and sign up for the newsletter.
- Set up a coffee with your school board member (their contact info is on the EEN website). Take a few friends. Ask them what are the main issues facing your district and offer to help
- And of course, check out EEN to find out what is happening in Eastside districts, and in Olympia
Photo credit: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction