Chimacum School District considering staff reductions

CHIMACUM — The Chimacum School Board has approved the idea of a reduction of certified staff, including teachers, for the 2020-21 school year, if needed.

The board OK’d Superintendent Rick Thompson’s recommendation Wednesday.

State law requires that certificated employees — such as teachers, nurses and counselors — potentially affected by reductions be notified before May 15.

Thompson was reluctant to provide numbers of possible reductions as the district is currently waiting to hear from teachers associations about impending resignations and retirements that may allow for restructuring rather than reduction of district staff.

“It may come down to one person’s particular job or two, depending on who retires or resigns or moves out of the area or something like that,” Thompson said.

“I hate to ballpark it but at this time I do not see significant cuts.”

Thompson said he took into account several factors, all linked to anticipated losses in funding, that could necessitate the reduction for the coming school year. Those include enrollment numbers for various subjects, accreditation requirements and minimum program requirements, including a number of positions for those subjects.

At the present time, the district is uncertain about the level of local, state and federal funding it will receive for the coming school year and is anticipating a decline in enrollment, which will additionally reduce fiscal resources.

Also being taken into account is anticipated loss in funding available to implement programs and services due to the impacts of COVID-19 precautions.

Gov. Jay Inslee closed state schools March 11 and early this month, announced they would remain closed for the rest of this school year.

Since then schools have switched to virtual classrooms and online learning to continue teaching and learning through the crisis.

“The reason that we’re looking at this is because our district and many other districts are going to be faced with long-term challenges that are going to be a result of the COVID impact,” Thompson said.

“But also aligning our budget with our enrollment, this applies only to those that have a May 15 deadline

“This does not apply to our classified staff members.

“Our first priority is to make any changes through attrition rather than impacting any staff members’ employment.”

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Ken Park can be reached at [email protected].

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