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School board to consider whether or not to continue compensating parents for their roles on advisory council

The Sunnyside School District has been compensating parents who serve on the parent advisory committee for several years and the school board will be considering whether or not to continue the practice.

Compensation for parents began when the district improvement team was established several years ago. Wanting to ensure that there was equal representation for the eight-hour commitment, the district began compensating parents that would have been unable to participate because of monetary hardship, Sunnyside School District Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole told the school board at a retreat held last night (Wednesday).

The improvement team over the years became the parent advisory council and Title 1 funding was used to continue compensating parents committed to the council.

However, the meetings are no longer held during the regular working day and Cole suggested the school board review the practice of compensating parents for their role on the council.

He said compensation allowed parents to have a voice, but factors that may have restricted participation might not be an issue any longer.

"Some parents may not be able to continue (being involved) if they aren't compensated," Cole admitted, stating he doesn't know what impact, if any, would be experienced if the school district discontinues the practice of compensating parents involved in the parent advisory council.

A study of parent involvement within the district is planned to be completed this year. Cole said the issue of parent compensation can be evaluated during the study.

"The deeper question is whether or not monolingual Spanish speaking parents are getting involved," he said.

Cole believes getting parents involved in the schools can be handled with sensitivity and the school district can evaluate whether or not financial burdens prevent parents from being involved.

The school board said it is open to hearing from the individual who will be conducting the parent involvement study.

The board believes the result of the study would provide them greater insight into whether or not compensating parents for being involved is necessary.

School Board Director Michelle Perry said, "It may just mean we need to provide childcare for them."

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