News

Bainbridge School District to cut teachers

The Bainbridge Island School District's board of directors approved the reduction of 9.5 full-time-equivalent teaching positions Thursday.

"I know it’s going to affect some of the same people that got affected by this last year, but we’re going to be as conservative as possible," said Mary Curtis, school board vice president.

The $403,000 reduction in certificated staffing is a result of a $1 million budget gap for the 2010-2011 school year. The district recommended addressing the shortfall with $450,000 in additional revenue and $550,000 in budget cuts.

The reductions are also a worst-case scenario, Supt. Faith Chapel said. Several pending decisions, such as leaves of absence, resignations or retirements, will also affect the final amount of cuts.

The district cannot cut any certificated staff positions after May 15. Any reductions in classified staff will be made in late May, Chapel said.

Letters will be hand-delivered to teachers between May 7 and May 14, said Cami Dombkowski, director of the district’s Human Resources Department.

Chapel noted it is ironic that many decisions regarding layoffs will be made during National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 3-7).

Chapel also commended teachers for maintaining a high quality of education within the district.

"The sad part is that we are such a lean organization, yet we’ve crafted the legacy of the Bainbridge Island School District crafting an education that is excellent."

Boo Schneider, president of the Bainbridge Island Education Association, stressed the significant impact that the cuts will have across the district.

"We don’t have a team member that is dispensable," she said. "We’re going to feel these cuts all the way across. As minimal as we’re trying to make (the cuts), there’s not one that won’t make an impact that will be painful for everybody."

Last year, the district faced a $2.1 million budget deficit and cut 15.7 FTE teaching positions. As a result, 17 educators were informed that their positions were either eliminated or their hours reduced.

The Save Our Teachers campaign raised $260,000 for the district, restoring seven FTE positions. Five FTEs were reinstated through resignations or retirements, and two were restored through leaves of absence. The district left 1.7 FTEs unfilled, Dombkowski said.

The district will receive budget information from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction after the May 15 reduction deadline.

“As additional information becomes available regarding revenue, the need for staffing reductions may be less than identified,” Chapel wrote in the district’s recommendation.

Affected teachers could either have their positions reduced or eliminated, she said.

State budget information could allow the district to hire teachers back.

“They tend to be called back quite quickly,” Dombkowski said. “We recognize that with these people we’re messing with their livelihood, to put it bluntly.”

The district will know by the first two weeks of August if positions are available, she said.

“We will be looking at the enrollment at the various schools and how many classes at each grade level we will be having at each school, how many students would have to be transferred,” Dombkowski said. “In addition to that we do meet with the principals and go through person by person.”

Last fall, some teachers waited until the first week of school to learn if they would be called back, Dombkowski said.

“The enrollment was what was driving the number of people in the position – how many kids actually walked in the door,” she said.

Teachers will be called by seniority, Dombkowski said, according to the positions that they’re qualified to teach.

Approved certificated staff reductions, in FTE

• 0.8 K-12 counselors

• 0.4 K-12 music

• 0.8 K-12 health/physical education

• 4.5 K-6 classroom teachers

• 0.8 Gr. 7-12 diversified arts/elective contracts

• 1.4 Gr. 7-12 english/language arts

• 0.6 Gr. 7-12 social studies

• 0.2 Gr. 7-12 world languages–Spanish

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Sep 26 edition online now. Browse the archives.