Mayor Ed Murray delivered his 2017-18 Proposed Budget to the City Council yesterday, and I am pleased to inform you of a few exciting new items included in the Department of Education and Early Learning’s proposed budget.
When Mayor Murray appointed me as director of DEEL, he made it clear that our mission would be to advance equity in education and help close the achievement gap that has long plagued our schools. This budget invests in our kids’ education and continues making progress toward ensuring everyone has access to opportunity.
First, the 2017 Proposed Budget includes $1 million to implement the first phase of the Mayor’s Education Summit Advisory Group’s recommendations, which will be announced soon. One of these recommendations is to fund an additional 200 high quality summer learning slots for middle and high school students, primarily focusing on African-American and other students of color. Another recommendation will provide funds for a pilot innovation model at one high school modeled on the Families and Education Levy middle school innovation program. This program significantly improves academic achievement by following a holistic approach that addresses academic skills, social emotional development, health, and family engagement. And, the Mayor’s budget includes funding in the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department to expand the My Brother’s Keeper initiative that helps mentor African-American boys at Aki Kurose Middle School to five other middle schools.
Second, the proposed budget adds funding of $500,000 in 2017 to expand the Parent-Child Home Program to increase the number of young children who benefit from literacy education.
Third, the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) Levy in DEEL’s 2017 Proposed Budget includes the planned addition of new SPP classrooms, from 32 in the 2016-17 school year to 53-60 classrooms in 2017-18. This increase means up to 1,200 more students will be served by the program in the next two years.
Finally, the Families and Education Levy (FEL) in DEEL’s 2017 Proposed Budget includes additional early learning preschool slots, funding for four new elementary schools, and increased summer learning funding for elementary and middle schools.
Additionally, Mayor Murray announced the creation of a Youth Opportunity Sub Cabinet that will be comprised of City department directors whose funding and programs focus on youth in Seattle. This group will serve as a structure to better align the City’s work with youth around common goals and outcomes.
I’m excited about the additional kids we’ll be able to serve with evidence-based and innovative strategies to help them succeed in school and in life. The budget shows Mayor Murray’s commitment to this goal.
Please let the City Councilmembers know that your thoughts about these investments by emailing the Council by using the Council website linked below or attending one of the two Council budget hearings scheduled for the following dates:
- Wednesday, October 5, 2015 at 5:30 p.m., Seattle City Hall in Council Chambers
- Tuesday, October 25, 2015 at 5:30 p.m., Seattle City Hall in Council Chambers
I would like to personally thank you for your continued support of and involvement with our programs and services, and to Mayor Murray for including these proposals as part of his 2017-18 Proposed Budget.
Dwane Chappelle, Director
Department of Education and Early Learning