Singing the Back To School blues | Letter
September 6, 2012 · Updated 10:35 AM
When my eldest daughter started Kindergarten in Lake Washington School District three years ago, I was so excited for her to start her elementary educational adventure.
I was also excited to get back to working while she was in school. Little did I realize that Lake Washington School District’s elementary school schedule is virtually prohibitive to holding down a job when you are an hourly employee.
With two younger children, we had child care that was able to pick up my Kindergarten daughter on early release Wednesdays, noon release conference days and keep her at home on Thursday-Friday-Monday breaks and LEAP days.
I now have a second child in the elementary school and have had three years to observe how challenging it is for many families to swing child care with such a variable school schedule. Just when families are trying to get back to work, they are given the added burden of finding expensive and flexible child care throughout the school year.
I have started asking our school district why we need so much variability in our elementary school schedule?
The eight noon release days send children home without a hot lunch.
The 2 p.m. Wednesday releases are great for school faculty meetings, but why not have the same length school day 180 days of the year and take advantage of the flexibility of having potential meeting time any school day?
I realize that with continued cuts to educational budgets, we won’t be getting 180 six and a half hour school days, but I firmly believe that LWSD can come up with a balanced compromise.
Our school system is not in place to provide “day care” so that parents can work, but we need to partner in caring for and educating our children while paying our bills and mortgages.
The LWSD community, board, administration and faculty have many hurdles to deal with, but I feel that this is one that has a simple answer and can truly help out many working parents.
Cynthia Hudson, Kirkland