South Whidbey School District cuts 13 more jobs

South Whidbey School District has laid off 13 employees in its latest, and possibly last, wave of budget cuts for the year.

Nine para-educators, most of whom work with special needs students, were the largest group. Two teachers and two food service employees were also laid off.

“It’s really difficult to make those determinations,” said District Superintendent Fred McCarthy. “But when you’re cutting, the only way to reduce and balance your budget is cutting staff.”

McCarthy said the positions were eliminated to reach the district’s goal of cutting its budget by $750,000.

“We think we’re within about $30,000 of that goal,” he said.

The cuts were made after the district evaluated the programs offered within its available revenue for next year. Then the district looked at each program group in terms of seniority, and those employees with the least seniority were put on the list, except for a couple of highly specialized jobs.

That said, para-educators who work one-on-one with special needs students may be recalled. If a student’s individualized lesson plan calls for a one-on-one tutor, they are more likely to return to work.

“It’s very likely they will be recalled, depending on what students are enrolled in the fall,” McCarthy said.

The food service layoffs are efficiency moves, and likely won’t be recalled, he said.

The two teachers are the least tenured teachers in their positions, and are waiting for an opening. Both notified the district that they are seeking employment elsewhere, McCarthy said.

All 13 employees were notified June 23. The district has a general practice of notifying by the last day of school, but is not required to notify employees until the end of summer.

Dan Poolman, district director of business and operations, is examining other efficiencies within the district to meet its budgetary goal. McCarthy said Poolman is looking into cutting non-employee related costs.

“It’s kind of sad to put your instructional materials on hold, but it’s the reality when budgeting in this climate,” McCarthy said.

Last year, 10 classified staff (custodians, secretaries and para-educators) were laid off.


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