Legislation and Advocacy
Cedar Park's legislative advocacy committee is responsible for providing leadership on children’s issues at the local level by educating PTA members, families, community members, and elected officials about PTA’s issues of concern and legislative priorities and goals.
Below, please find the Cedar Park PTA Board's letter to Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors opposing budget cuts to yellow bus transportation to options schools.
The PTA has also created a petition in opposition of said cuts; we encourage all families and community members to read the petition and sign it (and share it!) if so inclined.
Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors
PO Box 34165
Seattle, WA 98124-1165
February 3, 2021
Cedar Park Elementary
Parent Teacher Association Board
3737 NE 135th St
Seattle, WA 98125
Dear Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors,
On behalf of Cedar Park Elementary School and our students, we urge you to reconsider the recommendation to cut funding for yellow buses to option schools. With 44% of our small but mighty student body made up of students of color, 25% of which use said buses to get to school, the projected savings of cutting this essential service is not nearly significant enough (it represents less than one half, of one tenth, of one percent savings when compared to the $1.1B budget) to make up for the harm and disruption to our students—especially our students of color—, families, and surrounding community.
At a time when access to education for all seems to be on everyone’s mind given the current state of the world, we can’t help but wonder why cutting an essential service that directly impacts access would be considered. Providing equitable access for all students should always be our top priority—and the first step in addressing budget shortfalls should never include drastically disrupting families. In looking at the proposed budget, we believe there are other avenues that could be streamlined instead that would not impact students nearly as much as eliminating transportation would.
Option schools are currently a critical part of the SPS choice plan, and this decision appears to not only unfairly target these schools, but also goes against SPS’ stated priorities around racial equity: “It is the moral and ethical responsibility and a top priority for Seattle Public Schools to provide Equity Access and Opportunity for every student, and to eliminate racial inequity in our educational and administrative system.” It should be obvious that the removal of busing for option schools would not only impair our school’s ability to retain students from outside of our geozone, but would neglect to weigh the impact on families who participate in the SPS “School choice” option based on the premise that transportation will not limit their choices. In short, this would diminish the promise of an actual “option” for families without access to private, consistent, reliable transportation, and thus runs counter to SPS’ own stated priorities.
Furthermore, this budgetary cut does not seem to take into consideration Washington State Legislature’s Revised Code: RCW.28A.160.150 which states that transportation operating costs “...shall be funded at one hundred percent or as close thereto as reasonably possible for transportation of an eligible student to and from school…”
Without buses, it should come as no surprise that option schools can then only serve students whose families can afford and commit to driving them to/from school everyday, or afford to live close enough to walk, further creating a socio-economic divide within our district. Additionally, our school is located within a few blocks of a four-lane highway, SR-522 (Lake City Way); how will SPS help ensure the safety of these students as they endeavor to walk to school? Disadvantaged students who will no longer be served by SPS transportation will need to enroll at neighborhood schools that lack additional capacity. How will infrastructure, staff, and support be funded and implemented in a timely fashion to handle this influx?
The fact that this decision is being considered during open enrollment will additionally cause undue chaos for schools and families. How are families supposed to make such a crucial and personal decision as determining the school that will meet their unique child’s needs when the basic logistics of access are in question? How are current SPS families supposed to plan resuming their post-Covid lives when a basic service of SPS is in question?
This transportation cut would effectively devastate our school community and take away any hope at continued diversity for our student body in years to come. Cedar Park is a part of the Lake City neighborhood, which is over 40% ethnically diverse, making it one of the most diverse—if not the most diverse—neighborhoods in North Seattle. We consider it an incredible strength that our school reflects the diversity of the world around us and are rightfully concerned that if yellow bus services are eliminated, our student body will cease to be representative of our broader community. Cedar Park students and families should have been taken into greater consideration when this decision was made.
We implore you to reconsider your decision and not discontinue yellow bus transportation to SPS option schools.
Cedar Park Elementary
Parent Teacher Association Board