Spokane Public Schools Send Out 238 Layoff Notices To Teachers - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

UPDATE: Spokane Public Schools Send Out 238 Layoff Notices To Teachers

SPOKANE, Wash. - Layoff notices were given to 238 teachers in the Spokane Public School District Monday afternoon. A Spokane Public School District spokesperson told KHQ that the notices were sent to principals in the school district and the principals delivered the news to teachers.

Below is press release issued by Spokane Public Schools:

As many of you are aware, the Board of Directors has asked Human Resources to issue layoff notices in preparation for different staffing and budget scenarios which will be decided when the legislature completes their work. The Board of Directors wants to be sure that they have explored every possibility for reductions, some which include a class size increase, and some which do not. Because of that uncertainty due to the state not finishing, and with the May 15 deadline to issue notices, it meant that we had to prepare for a "worst-case" scenario budgetary situation, as well as a variety of reduction options.

This means we had to plan for potential class size increases but we ALSO had to plan for the possibility that, if class sizes were not increased, ALL certificated support positions could possibly be eliminated, and all of the individuals in those programs would need teaching positions. Certificated support positions include counselors, librarians, specialty support positions, intervention specialists, facilitators, basic education instructional coaches, as well as psychologists, SLPs, OT/PTs and other "TOSA" (teacher on special assignment) positions.  Most of the people in the programs which could be reduced have other endorsements and could take a classroom teaching position. However, there are 55 counselors (of 72) who do not have a teaching certificate, and we have to give all of them layoff notices, in the event the Board found it necessary to eliminate counseling fully as an alternative to increase class sizes. As a result, there will be a total of 238 layoff notices issued, with the likelihood that we won't need to implement a "worst-case" scenario, that positions other than certificated staff will also be eliminated, and that the more senior of the laid off staff will eventually be able to be returned to positions. Again, the May 15 deadline is a legal one, and if we do not issue enough notices before then, we can't give the Board enough flexibility to make budget decisions subsequent to the legislature ending.

Some may ask the question--why is a "worst-case" scenario 238 notices? Wouldn't that be far more than is needed to cover a $12 million gap? The answer is that, while a reduction of 150 positions would close a $12 million gap, we don't know WHICH positions would be impacted, and we need to ensure we've created enough flexibility in the process so that the Board of Directors can make their decision after they have all of the information--and won't be limited in their decision by not enough notices being distributed. Further, by issuing more notices, we limit the movement of more senior staff into grade level/content areas they may have limited or no experience teaching. It will still happen, but with more positions "open" due to layoff, it's anticipated there will be less of a need for more senior staff to be impacted by multiple "domino" moves needed in order to bring back staff from layoff.

Unfortunately, unless we get more retirements, it is likely that individuals who are less-senior will remain on the recall list into next year, even if the situation improves. Further, it is likely we will need to reconfigure some positions of non-laid-off staff in order to ensure that the maximum number of individuals laid off will be able to be returned. We will be working with staff laid off to put them into priority substitute positions so at least they can be earning some money while waiting to be recalled. It will be important as you support your laid off teachers to understand the process of recall, but be careful not to build false hopes that every one of them will be recalled as they have in the past.

This afternoon, those supervisors who have certificated staff being laid off will receive a list of those individuals, along with information regarding what to tell the employee and how to deliver the message. On Tuesday, the individuals will be notified via email that they are on the list and will be invited to an informational meeting on Friday where they will also receive their layoff letter. Once the legislature ends and the Board is able to provide direction regarding staffing levels, we will begin the recall process. Prior to that, if there are any individuals we can place (those not laid off but displaced from their current position), we will do so.

We ask that you share this information with potentially impacted staff today. We believe that the media tomorrow will be sharing the more general layoff information, and it is important that those who may be impacted have some information prior to hearing of it tomorrow morning. Again, you will receive more specific names later this afternoon, but this general information is fine to share with less senior staff, counselors, and librarians in advance of the specific names being shared with you.

Thank you for your attention to this matter; it is a very difficult time for everyone, but this week, most especially for our colleagues who will receive layoff notices.  Below is a summary of the positions receiving notices:

Elementary Teachers    72
Secondary Teachers    42
Special Ed Teachers                    28
Counselors                    55
Librarians                                      6
Specialty Support                      7
SLPs                                    10
Psychologists                      6
OT/PTs                                      7
Other                                      5
TOTAL                                   238

We are expecting to learn more about this story on Tuesday and will continue to keep you updated as soon as new information becomes available.

 

 

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