By Curran Nielsen
UW News Lab

The Tukwila Board of Directors, representing the Tukwila School District, convened on April 23, 2024 for its regular board meeting. Held at Cascade View Elementary, the meeting was chaired by board president Carlee Hoover from District 1. She was joined by directors Charley Simpson, District 3; Reverend Terrence Proctor, District 4; and vice president Dave Larson, District 5.

The board addressed community concerns about budget cuts, welcomed a presentation from Cascade View Elementary principal Dr. Tenesha Fremstad, and voted to appoint Kate Kruller as the board’s representative from District 2. Kruller will fill the vacant spot previously held by Jan Bolerjack.

“I’m honored,” Kruller said. “Thank you very much.”

Also on the agenda was a presentation by Cascade View principal Dr. Tenisha Fremstad. Dr. Fremstad discussed the improvements that the school has seen in the past school year, including increased performance in the iReady exams, a diagnostic assessment that identifies students experiencing difficulties in different skill areas.

Dr. Fremstad also highlighted concerns about school safety, explaining to the board the need for assistance with regulating traffic and ensuring the safety of students walking home from school.

“We are worried about safety,” Dr. Fremstad said. “We need to have a school zone that is within our main street of where we are in our location.”

One concerned parent, Noelle Blanchette, echoed this concern and told the board that the district is liable for the safety of its students and that action needs to be taken to make the streets safer.

“Someone is going to get run over, and I don’t want to wait for it to be one of our kids,” Blanchette said.

Community members gathered at the meeting to express concern over recent budget cuts in the district. Former assistant vice principal Cindy Golston spoke to the board about the recent cut of her position, which occurred just two weeks after her 62nd birthday and the emotional toll it has taken on her and the problems it will create for the schools she works with.

“While the intent is to bring the district into a better state of solvency, the impact on me has been emotionally and physically draining for the last four weeks,” Golston said.

While Golston understands the situation that the district is in with the budget, she argued that the decision will impact her fellow elementary education administrators next year who will have to assume the extra hours of her role as well as not providing adequate administrative relief to the principals she works with.

“I understand that cuts need to be made, but the decision to cut the only assistant principal shared by three elementary schools shows the negligence of the board on the importance of Mrs. Golston to the three elementary schools,” one community member said.

Board president Carlee Hoover spoke with the community in response to the budget cuts and understanding concerns about how the decisions were made.

“We all have a responsibility here,” Hoover said. “There are decisions that are made… Could things have been done differently? Certainly, but it still would have happened the last several years.”

Hoover emphasized that for the district to change, they need the entire school community to work together to make it possible.

“Culture change takes time,” Hoover said. “It requires openness, effort, and work on the part of everyone. It involves every single person. We all have a responsibility for creating the district that we all say that we want.”

The meeting closed with the board approving their action items. The Human Resources Staffing Report, 2024-2025 School Year Calendar, Resolution 947: Budget Extension, Resolution 949: Reduction in Force Classified, Resolution 951: Authorizing Superintendent to Issue Non-Renewal Notices, and Resolution 951: Reduction in Force – Certificated were all unanimously approved.

The board encourages community members not to hesitate in expressing their concerns and to reach out to board members directly when seeking accurate information.

“If you’re curious about something, reach out to one of us,” Hoover said. “Get the clarity that you need from the right people.”

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