Sequim: School district hands out pink slips as part of cutbacks; jobs can be saved if levy passes next month

SEQUIM — Having spent 21 years in the U.S. Army, Sgt. Mike Lippert wasn’t about to spend his retirement on a golf course.

Lippert, medically disabled from his time in the service, earned a university master’s degree and last year began teaching history at Sequim High School.

But Lippert’s teaching career may be short-lived. He was just notified that he will be losing his job in June.

“I love every minute of it,” Lippert said of his classroom stint. “And now, there’s probably nothing I can do on the Peninsula.”

The Sequim School District sent pink slips to 12 professional staff members last week after making $1.5 million in cuts to its 2004-05 operating budget earlier this month.

February levy failure

The School Board, faced with a shortfall of funds in the wake of a failed maintenance and operations levy which voters rejected in February, made sweeping cuts in extracurricular activities — including competitive sports, arts and music at the elementary level — and several facilities maintenance functions.

Stipends dedicated to supporting the programs cut were eliminated, and the 12 staffers were notified that their contracts will not be renewed for the 2004-05 school year.

The district is making a second attempt to pass a $5.16 million, two-year replacement levy in a special election ending May 18.

But under collective bargaining terms, contracts must be renewed or voided by May 15 every school year.

Should the levy pass, many of the programs could be restored and laid-off workers might be offered contracts, Schools Superintendent Garn Christensen said.

Because staffing cuts are made on a seniority basis, the program cuts don’t necessarily correspond with the employees teaching or running them.

That means some reshuffling of staff will need to be accomplished — a decision Christensen said won’t be made until the final results from May’s levy election are known and the board contemplates a budget for 2004-05.

Other layoffs

In addition to Lippert, district employees receiving layoff notices include Marthe Fortman, school nurse; Leighanne Erickson, Sequim High School Spanish teacher; Laura Gould, Sequim Middle School science teacher; Elizabeth King, middle school language arts and history teacher; Karen O’Donnell, Sequim Community School/Olympic Peninsula Academy teacher.

Also, Isaac Rapelje, high school science teacher; Jake Reichner, high school literature teacher; Nancy Renner, Greywolf Elementary School counselor; Jennifer Sikes, middle school sixth-grade teacher; Patty Swingle, Greywolf librarian; and Chris Zeller, middle school seventh-grade language arts teacher.

Sequim Middle School counselor Gloria Ricketts was reduced from full-time to half-time.

Five other 2004-05 positions that will be vacant due to retirements or resignations are not being filled, Christensen said.

More in News

Sue Ridder and husband Johnny from Vancouver, visiting relatives in Port Townsend, start cleaning some of the 13 Dungeness crab they caught in Port Townsend Bay on Wednesday. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Catch of the day

Sue Ridder and husband Johnny from Vancouver, visiting relatives in Port Townsend,… Continue reading

Clallam housing waiting lists long

Report: Increase in homeless over 55

Clallam, Jefferson counties each receive park maintenance grants

State funding will go toward repair, upgrade at several local parks

Traffic disruption set at Discovery Bay

Traffic disruption is planned on U.S. Highway 101 at… Continue reading

Jon Picker, airport and marina manager for the Port of Port Angeles, describes runway sections for William R. Fairchild International Airport on a diagram of the terminal area. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Fairchild upgrades completed

Ribbon cutting is planned for Dec. 12

Clallam County eyes changes to park fees

Public hearing on adjustments set Dec. 12

Rich Foutch of Active Construction, Inc., in Tacoma paints a line on the roadway at the new roundabout at Kearney Street and state Highway 20 for the placement of temporary stripes in a pedestrian crosswalk on Monday in Port Townsend. The temperatures have to be in the mid-50s to install permanent striping, he said. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Roundabout striping

Rich Foutch of Active Construction, Inc., in Tacoma paints a line on… Continue reading

Proposal to rename Sequim road put on hold

Rotary, city to consider other options to honor local Olympian

Researcher: Managed forests needed to fight climate change

Wood products can replace existing fossil fuel-based materials

Jefferson County updates fee schedules

Environmental Public Health up 6 percent

The downtown Port Angeles Christmas tree is surrounded by people during a lighting ceremony on Saturday at First and Lincoln streets. The 30-foot tree will stand at the Conrad Dyar Memorial Fountain plaza through the holidays. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Lit up for the holidays

The downtown Port Angeles Christmas tree is surrounded by people during a… Continue reading

Community Aid seeks support for Toys for Sequim Kids

Nonprofit helps hundreds of children with Christmas presents