Last Wednesday, the Spokane School Board voted 5-0 to approve significant changes to school district boundaries for the first time in 40 years. Although Stand for Children volunteers and advocates had been advocating for a delay of vote until an equity review could be conducted, we are proud of the progress we achieved by making our voices heard.
By speaking up together, we ensured that equity became central to the conversation about boundary changes.
Six weeks before the vote, our team was approached by Spokane parents with questions about how to navigate this boundary change process and provide meaningful feedback to the school board. Thanks to those conversations and connections, we joined a chorus of concern about whether racial and socioeconomic equity were foundational to the boundary committee’s decision-making process and whether all voices on the committee were equitably heard. Together, we advocated for the School Board to delay its vote until a review of the boundary-setting process was conducted.
Over the past month, we have been proud to stand alongside you and ensure that your voices were heard. Parents, families, and community members from across Spokane wrote 300 emails to school board members asking for an equity analysis of the proposal and a slow-down of the current process. Several volunteers responded to last-minute opportunities to give public testimony and shared the word about the process with fellow advocates.
Although the school board decided to move forward with the current proposal, we are encouraged that equitable family engagement continues to be top of mind for the district and will continue to monitor upcoming opportunities for family engagement with the school board. As board member Jenny Slagle said during their recent meeting, “The community will continue to hold us accountable in each of our decisions.”
At Stand, our team is committed to supporting Spokane community members whenever you are compelled to take action and speak up in support of equity in our schools. We will continue to stand alongside you to help hold the school board accountable and build a more equitable and just education system together. Thank you for taking action with us and standing up for what’s best for students and families.
If you plan to continue your education advocacy into the next school year, please join us next Tuesday evening at 6pm for our Spokane Community Priorities planning meeting. We’ll be discussing our current work in Spokane and brainstorming together about what our next steps should be to better support your priorities. Register here to join us on zoom next week.
Standing with you,
Kia C. Franklin