Teachers' jobs on the line, again - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Teachers' jobs on the line, again

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(Associate Superintendent Dr. Mark Anderson says the district tries
to make cuts outside the classroom, but in this round of cuts, they
may have to slash teacher positions.)


SPOKANE, Wash. - Eight months after Spokane Public Schools announced that 103 teachers notified of layoffs would be recalled, teachers' jobs are once again on the line.

Over the past seven years, Spokane Public Schools has been forced to cut a total of $54 million from the district's budget, and next year is not looking any better for the district.

According to Associate Superintendent Dr. Mark Anderson, the district is facing an additional $10 million cut in next year's budget.

Anderson blames the cuts on years of under-funding by the state.

In previous years, districts across the state looked to cut jobs outside the classroom. In 2009, SPS cut clerical jobs and simply did not fill vacant positions in order to bridge the gap.

Without those jobs to cut this time, teachers' jobs are now at stake.

"We'll continue to try as we always do to cut other areas first," said Anderson, "but we're at the school house now, the state has us at the school house now."

While it's not concrete that all budget cuts will come in the form of teacher positions, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire's proposed 2010 budget includes cutting 80 teaching positions from SPS alone.

The House and the Senate must still present their budget proposals and ultimately pass one version, so more information will be available as the state legislature wraps up its 60-day session in mid-March.

More Information:

Governor Gregoire is also considering allowing school districts to raise the amount of money they can request in levies. That means everyone, regardless of whether or not they have a child enrolled in school, could see an increase in taxes.

Dr. Anderson believes allowing such an increase would mean the state is "shirking its duty off on local communities to pick up the slack."

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