Shoreline Schools Superintendent announces staffing cuts

Saturday, May 16, 2020


This letter is from Rebecca Miner, Superintendent of Shoreline Schools

Dear Shoreline Schools Families,

I am writing to you today to share some difficult news regarding our plan to address expected significant budget reductions due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The State of Washington is currently projecting a $7 billion reduction in tax revenue through 2023. Because state tax revenues account for roughly 75 percent of our school district’s funding, we expect our reduction in state funding to be considerable. Additionally, we are anticipating a possible reduction in student enrollment. Our current estimate is that we will need to cut $3.5 million to balance our budget for next school year.

In order to address the anticipated level of funding and enrollment reductions, I requested approval from our school board to reduce our staffing by up to 25 non-supervisory certificated full-time equivalent (FTE) positions and three certificated administrative FTE positions. Those reduction in force (RIF) resolutions were adopted at their May 4 school board meeting in order to meet the statutory deadline of May 15 to notify affected certificated employees as required by state law.

Without question, our staff are amazing and their work is critical to the success of our students and schools. Because of this, staffing reductions are always a last resort in addressing fiscal challenges. However, with nearly 88 percent of our school district’s budget allocated to salaries and benefits, there is simply no easy way to prepare for the level of reduced revenue we are likely facing without impacting our staffing levels.

Over the past two weeks, our leadership team has developed a staffing reduction plan and notified affected staff. We were able to minimize the number of RIF and layoff notifications by carefully tracking and accounting for retirements, resignations and vacancies. No non-supervisory certificated staff will be laid off, but some will be reassigned to vacant positions. Some administrative staff members were laid off as a result of administrative position reductions.

The position reductions and reassignments include the following:
  • A total of 24.4 non-supervisory certificated FTE positions will be absorbed/reduced through the following measures:
    • 8.9 FTE are being reassigned from positions that support learning outside of the classroom to vacant classroom positions (vacant through retirements, resignations and leave requests)
      • Reassigned positions include: 5.5 FTE Elementary Instructional Coach positions, 2.0 FTE High School Instructional Coach positions, and 1.4 Basic Education Teacher on Special Assignments (TOSA) positions.
    • 4.0 FTE are being reassigned from the closed overflow kindergarten programs at North City and Meridian Park to vacant positions in other schools
      • Reassigned positions include: 2.0 Dean positions, 1.0 Librarian and 1.0 Counselor positions
    • 7.5 vacant FTE are being reduced through increasing the staffing ratio for grades 6 - 12 from 25.1 students per teacher to 26.1 students per teacher (there is no change to K-5 staffing ratios)
    • 4.0 vacant FTE are being held pending enrollment
  • 4.0 FTE net reduction in administrative positions
    • 1.0 FTE Meridian Park Kindergarten Program Principal
    • 1.0 FTE North City Kindergarten Program Principal
    • 1.0 FTE Director of Assessment position
    • 1.0 FTE Children’s Center Director position
    • 1.0 FTE Director of Teacher Professional Practice and Evaluation position eliminated
    • New 1.0 FTE classified administrative position created to be responsible for a combination of responsibilities from two of the eliminated positions

We have made our best effort to prioritize these position eliminations to have the least impact on students and classrooms. Class size ratios will remain the same for grades K-5 (25.1 students per teacher) and increase by one in grades 6-12 (26.1 students per teacher). As is always the case, class sizes may be larger or smaller than those numbers, but when they are larger, additional instructional support is allocated to those classrooms.

This has been a thoughtful and detailed decision-making process, with every option scrutinized and evaluated to understand the impact on students, staff, schools and programs. The positions that have been reduced reflect a budgetary decision, not a reflection on the skills and contributions of the individuals or the responsibilities of the positions.

While the certificated positions are not the only place where cuts and efficiencies will be made, certificated staff are required to be notified by May 15 if their contract will not be renewed due to budget reductions. We have more work to do to balance our 2020-2021 school year budget. We will continue to review and consider additional budget and enrollment information and will communicate further decisions and any additional reductions.

These kinds of decisions are the worst part of any school leader’s job. I know the incredible value that each staff member brings to our school community and eliminating and reassigning positions is the very last thing any of us want to do. My thoughts continue to be with our staff, students and families as we navigate these challenging times. I know our community will come together to weather these challenges.

Sincerely,
Rebecca Miner
Superintendent



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