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Pink slips are coming to North Kitsap schools

POULSBO — The North Kitsap School District and districts around the country celebrated National Certificated Staff Appreciation Week May 6-10.

The good feelings may be short-lived. By May 15, districts will notify staff members of layoffs.

“We’re going to have to take some action,” North Kitsap School Board President Dan Weedin said Tuesday about cutting teaching positions. “I would be disingenuous saying otherwise.”

Assistant Superintendent Chris Willits recommends cutting 27.3 full-time equivalent positions. Of that number, 18.70 positions will be vacated by people retiring, resigning or on leave of absence, also known as attrition. That leaves the equivalent of 8.6 FTE staff members to be given a reduction-in-force notice.

The attrition level changed since the school board last met April 25. Previously, more than 11 filled positions were proposed to be cut.

The district will save approximately $2.1 million through the reductions, according to Superintendent Patty Page. The district is facing an approximate $3 million deficit for the 2013-14 budget.

According to the proposed education program for 2013-14, presented to the board Thursday, the equivalent of 10.8 positions would be cut from high schools, 7.8 from elementary schools, 4.2 from support staff, 2.5 from special education, and two from middle schools — if the board adopted the program. The school board met after the Herald’s press time.

The district has 354.30 certified employees, according to district documents.

The area of education proposed to take the most cuts is Career and Technical Education. The equivalent of 5.2 positions at the middle and high school levels are proposed to be cut.

The area taking the second most cuts is K-5 teachers, the equivalent of 4.5 jobs.

The area with the third most is support staff, which include learning specialists, librarians and counselors, an equivalent of 4.2.

Calls to North Kitsap Education Association President Chris Fraser were not returned by deadline Thursday.

The actual number of reduction-in-force notices that will be issued could change, Weedin said. More people could retire, for example, he said.

Either way, the board will have to make a decision to meet the May 15 deadline.

Enrollment is expected to decline in 2013-14 by 200 students, which accounts for about 9.5 of the total number of position reductions, according to the April 25 school board minutes. The district is overstaffed by 17.8 positions based on state funding.

Last year, the district cut just under 15 positions; all those positions were covered by attrition.

Weedin doesn’t expect the board to be “overly conservative” when it comes to the staffing cuts this year, he said.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure this is as painless as possible,” Weedin said.

Where the biggest cuts are
— Elementary schools: Equivalent of 4.5 jobs are being cut from teaching positions in grades K-5 — 1.3 from physical education, 1.1 from music, and .2 from K-5 Parent Assisted Learning.
— Middle schools: Equivalent of 1.2 jobs will be cut from social studies, .8 from art, .8 from choir/electives, .5 from math, science, and Career and Technical Education.
— High schools: Equivalent of 1.7 jobs will be cut from the language arts department, 1.8 from the math department, 1.3 from physical education, and 4.7 from Career and Technical Education.
— Special education: Equivalent of 3 jobs cut from Resource Room. 
— Support staff: Equivalent of 1 counselor, 1.9 learning specialist, 1.3 librarians.

 

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