Bring back support staff in Vancouver Schools to provide equitable support for students

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It is completely unacceptable that Vancouver Public Schools has furloughed hundreds of paraeducators and office professionals this fall.  Concerned citizens, like me, cannot fathom the superintendent’s decision to balance Vancouver Public Schools’ budget on the backs of its lowest-paid employees.

The district cites decreased enrollment and its impact on funding to justify cutting the jobs of hundreds of support staff.  But an estimated $35 million "rainy day" reserve fund balance is evidence that Vancouver Public Schools has the money to do more. It’s harder than ever to support students virtually. Parents and students deserve more during these difficult times.  100% of Vancouver Public Schools’ support staff are necessary to ensure the diverse needs of the district’s families are being met. This is the greatest public health emergency in more than a century.  If this doesn’t meet the district’s threshold for spending a portion of its “rainy day” reserve, what does?

It’s impossible to justify the Vancouver superintendent’s plan to pad the district’s rainy-day fund instead of doing all he can do to provide equitable learning opportunities and adequate support for ALL Vancouver students. I strongly urge you, the Vancouver School Board, to overturn Superintendent Steve Webb’s misguided approach and bring back the district’s support staff, to ensure every student has the individualized support of a caring educator in Vancouver Public Schools.