Tulalip Tribes give Marysville schools $1.26 million

TULALIP — The Tulalip Tribes on Thursday gave $1.26 million to save programs suspended or ended by the cash-strapped Marysville School District.

The school district has been reeling since December when the state took away $250 million statewide for school funding. The Marysville School

District’s slice of that was $2 million for this school year.

“We watched this, and we knew if there was a way to help we would like to stand up and be part of our larger community that helps out those in need,” said Melvin Sheldon, chairman of the Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors.

This is on top of what the tribes had already given to the school district. In past years, the tribes have given about $1.8 million annually for education initiatives.

The funds given Thursday will help the district provide science curriculum and professional development for middle schools; math materials, teacher training and two district math coaches; a new data system to track and analyze student achievement; cultural diversity training for staff; C squad sports teams at Marysville Getchell High School; and all-day kindergarten and teachers for kindergarten through third-grade to reduce class sizes at Tulalip and Quil Ceda Elementary Schools.

“I’ve been devastated by how our state has handled the budget crisis,” Marysville School Board member Darci Becker said. “It cut deeply into all schools’ budgets, but for us here in Marysville, it’s been very painful. I hope (students) can understand the gift that they have been given.”

The district will receive $860,000 followed by four quarterly payments making up the remaining balance over the next year.

“It’s huge for academics, it plugs that hole,” Superintendent Larry Nyland said.

The donation does not resolve all the district’s financial troubles, Nyland added. The district has cut $1.4 million in this year’s budget and still has about $900,000 more to go, he said.

Layoffs could still occur, although the school district hopes to cut vacant positions.

And the funds will not help varsity sports start in this fall at the new Marysville Getchell High School.

“We have to continue to talk about how to close the rest of the gap,” Nyland said.

The Tulalip Tribe Board of Directors initially looked at funding varsity sports teams at Marysville Getchell High School but decided to focus instead on stemming educational cuts that were happening throughout the district, board member Glen Gobin said.

“Our original intent was to fund Getchell sports then we got deeper … and it very quickly became apparent that the money needed to go into the education part,” Gobin said.

Jaylen Fryberg, 11, was one of four fifth-graders from Tulalip Elementary who attended the award presentation. Four third-graders from Quil Ceda Elementary were also in attendance.

He was happy some money would go toward his favorite subject — math.

“It’s nice,” he said. “We get a lot of money for our schools.”

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring, Nyland and Marysville school board members Becker, Tom Albright and Wendy Fryberg were among those who thanked the Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors during a presentation of the award at the Tulalip Tribal Center.

The 11,000-student school district’s boundaries include Tulalip and Marysville.

Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; adaybert@heraldnet.com.

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