Creative programs have helped many Washington students in the classroom, but progress comes with a price tag. That’s why many educators want more money from the state.
The state Supreme Court recently ruled the roughly $9,700 Washington spends per student isn't enough.
“Here we have a state that is one of the wealthiest per capita and yet we're one of the lowest funded per student states in the nation. That's frustrating,” said Carmela Dellino, Executive Director of West Seattle Schools.
Once an extreme underperformer, the staff at Roxhill Elementary School in White Center is happy to tell you about the progress they’ve made over the past three years. Roxhill started out with only 13 percent of its students performing at proficient level. They’ve made a gain of about 45-to-50 percent.
They were able to do it through programs like Saturday School.
“Now I feel like I can actually do some good math now. I do a lot better,” said student Damien Nail.
“It’s fun. I like it a lot,” said student Jessica Hernandez.
But administrators say their students have a lot of needs, noting that 81 percent received free or reduced lunches and 30 percent have special education needs. 35 percent English is a second language.
“Our children live in extreme poverty,” said Roxhill Principal Sahnica Washington.
For progress to continue, the school needs to see money. Administrators say the way funding is divided up isn't working either.
“Equity doesn’t mean equal. Schools based on need should be given appropriate funds,” said Washington.
Instead, they’d like to see a change in resources for students and teachers.
“You have to extend the work day after school, extend the work day to Saturdays. Somebody's got to do that work and teachers are the ones doing it,” said Dellino.