Lakewood schools will largely maintain their staffing levels with some additional mental health support under their 2022-23 budget.

The Lakewood School District board of directors approved the budget during their Aug. 17 board meeting.

“We’re generally maintaining the basic staffing levels that we had last year,” said Lakewood School District Superintendent Scott Peacock.

The main changes have been in the areas of mental health and behavioral support. The new staff positions include 1.5 counselors at the elementary level.

A dean of students will be at Lakewood Middle School who will “provide additional support and supervision of students,” said Peacock.

Finally, a behavioral specialist at the district level will help across all schools.

The district had increased student enrollment last year with 2,519 students. With continuing growth in the area they are projecting 2,542 students for next year.

The district has found some ways to reclaim classroom space at Lakewood Middle School and also added a double portable this year to Lakewood Elementary.

After those additions, Peacock said the current Lakewood facilities will likely be good with growth for a bit.

Pandemic relief funds that haven’t been spent yet will continue to be used to support areas such as extra-curricular activities and next year’s summer school.

“We are continuing our use of ESSER [pandemic relief] funds for student enrichment,” said Peacock.

For the future, Peacock said the budget is healthy, although some state funding issues may create problems soon.

After the McCleary decision, which mandated the state legislature fully fund education as is required by the Washington state constitution, the legislature increased funding to school districts and included a ‘regionalization’ factor for teacher salaries.

That factor was meant to take into account the differing cost of living in different parts of the state, and therefore more state funding for teacher salaries went to areas with higher cost of living.

However, as part of that initial plan, those additional funds were built to slowly decrease year after year. That decrease will slowly tighten local school district’s budgets.


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.