May 4, 2011

Olympia School District faces RIF

This afternoon, the Superintendent of the Olympia School District released a recommended list of budget cuts for the 2011-2012 school year. Thanks to a legislature that's still squabbling over state budget particulars, local school districts have had to draw up worst-case contingency plans. The OSD's proposal assumes a roughly $2.3 million drop in the next fiscal year.

Since the bulk of the District's funds go toward personnel, two of the biggest potential cuts involve increased class sizes, and, concomitantly, lost teaching positions.
  • Increase elementary class size by about 2 per class, at grades 1-5. This is consistent with the new state funding schedule which provides 1 teacher for each 25 students in grades K-3. (OSD continues to subsidize kindergarten class size at about 23 students where the state pays for 1 teacher for each 25 students.)
  • Increase secondary class size by 1.3 students from 28.7 students per teacher/section to 30 students per teacher/section. This represents an increase in the average; as is the case today, class sizes will vary depending on content and student interest.
According to the more detailed outline, this means a loss of 8.2 and 7.8 positions, respectively. Add (or subtract?) the nearly 14 positions lost to declining enrollment, and more (of an uncertain number) lost to vaporized federal stimulus money, and the District is looking at losing dozens of teachers--or, in the "best" case, simply not replacing those who leave.

Other recommendations include charging students for zero-hour classes, converting all middle school sports into intramurals, delaying social studies textbook purchases, and cutting the reserve from 4.3% down to 3%.

The OSD Board of Directors will take public comments on the budget at several upcoming meetings, beginning with a 6:30 p.m. meeting, May 9th the Knox Building. And if you live in (or teach in) the Olympia School District, you should take this survey, too.


The RIF communication team has more details:
We are writing to share difficult news. Although the State Legislature has not completed their budget work, the District is moving forward with its proposed budget and reduced education plan for the 2011-12 school year. This reduced education plan prompts a reduction-in-force (RIF) process that includes, but will be limited to, the 48 least senior certificated employees on our seniority list....

There are important considerations to keep in mind in this process. Although the employees who fall within the 1-48 seniority rank will receive RIF notices, the actual number of positions the District will eventually reduce will be fewer. Factors that will be taken into consideration to determine the final number of reduced positions include:

* The eventual number of retirements, resignations and leave of absence requests;
* The final state budget which will determine the actual revenue loss for the District;
* Updated projections of District expenditures for the remainder of the school year;
* Enrollment changes; and,
* Decisions made by the School Board.
No mention yet in The Olympian.

Added 5/5: The RIF in context.

No comments: