Mar 23, 2009

RIF option on the table for Olympia School District

Anyone who's been following this year's state budget implosion will have seen this coming. The Olympia School District is investigating a RIF process as a way to balance the budget in the face of declining revenue, an email from the District's HR Director Beth Scouller reports.
This evening at the Board of Director's meeting, the Board of Directors will be asked to approve Resolution 451. This resolution directs the Superintendent to recommend a reduced education plan, including a reduced staffing plan, for the 2009-2010 school year. As required by state law, such action is necessary when the District does not anticipate the financial resources to maintain programs and services at the present levels.

At this time it is unfortunate that the District does not know the extent of the impact on District revenues due to our current state and national economic situation. Although we are hopeful that cuts and reductions will be minimal, the District is preparing for a reduction-in-force in case deep cuts to programs, staff and services become necessary.

Appendix A in the OEA/OSD Bargaining Agreement addresses the specific steps and processes for a reduction in our certificated staff. Please feel free to contact your OEA building representative, OEA President, or me if you have questions regarding the language or process of a District reduction in force. At this time, no reduction-in-force (RIF) notices are being prepared. You will continue to receive communication from me as we move through this process.
I couldn't make the meeting, so I don't know what action has been taken on the resolution. (My guess is they passed it; the RIF process isn't binding, but it's necessary to make any future cuts.) I'll post an update when I know for sure.

Seven years of teaching in the district; three RIFs, potentially. I'm not the albatross, am I?

First Update: Perusing the minutes, it appears the resolution was presented for first reading, which means it wouldn't be approved until the next meeting, April 20th. I'll update again when the podcast is posted and I can have a listen. (If you were there, feel free to comment. The Olympian--which we should now refer to as The Tacoma News-Extension--isn't much help today.)

Second Update: I spoke with a source in the District who noted that I-728 funds are potentially going to be axed by the State. The District employs 50 teachers using these funds, which would not only necessitate a RIF process, but likely deep cuts in other programs as well. One thing is certain: class sizes will be larger next year.

1 comment:

Stidmama said...

Time for a rant: The short-sightedness of legislature and districts (and federal government) about "saving" money by increasing class sizes... we know that smaller classes mean better learning and therefore increased success for students when they transition into the work force. Why not just build prisons instead of schools and resign ourselves to huge shantytowns on the outskirts of cities? If we choose "solutions" that are known to have higher long-term costs than the immediate savings, we are only undermining our future (and our children's). No matter how you whitewash it, these decisions end up re-creating the class divide that public schooling was intended to minimize: wealthier parents will find ways to provide better schooling for their children and children living in poverty will see their options eroding.