School district gives layoff notices to 22 more employees

The South Whidbey School District dropped its second personnel bombshell last week, releasing a list of 22 classified employees who may lose their jobs.

Previously, the district had indicated the number would be only seven employees. A list of names released by the school district, however, shows that 22 workers may lose their jobs.

Since most are part-time workers, when added together the potential layoffs are the equivalent of seven full-time positions.

If the 22 workers are let go, the district expects to see total cost savings from salary and benefit packages of $345,000.

Employees named in the latest round of cuts are food service workers, custodians, and district service center and student support employees. The staff reductions are being proposed as the district attempts to bridge a $1.85 million budget deficit.

Some of those on the list may be offered other positions within the district as a result of a continuing decision-making process that will last through the summer.

“It’s all based on seniority within each classification,” district business manger Dan Poolman explained. “If you have seniority in another area, you have rights.”

Eight on the list are members of the Service Employees International Union and eight belong to the Public School Employees union. The remaining five have no union representation.

In April, 37 reduction-in-force notices were given to certified personnel, including teachers, librarians and counselors. That number has since been pared to 18 employees.

With the cuts announced this week, the number of school employees who may lose jobs is now 40.

The total money saved from certified employees amounts to $857,481. Coupled with classified cuts, the district projects it can save $1.2 million, still $100,000 short of its target of $1.3 million.

Enrollment and the economy are driving the cutbacks.

School officials are forecasting a reduction of 139 students for the school year that begins in September, resulting in an overall 11-percent loss of revenue.

After cuts in programs and belt-tightening in other areas, the budget shortfall must be resolved from employee layoffs, since they represent 83 percent of the district’s annual budget.

McCarthy noted that the economy has caused the decline to accelerate, and state government has less money to give to schools.

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