Teachers top school layoffs list

"Fifteen teachers or other employees are the first to be on the list of South Kitsap School District layoffs as a result of consecutive maintenance and operations levy failures.The dismissals were approved Monday by the School Board on the recommendation of district superintendent Bill Lahmann.District officials will meet with the RIFed (reduction in force) employees May 22 to discuss benefits and rights and offer advice on job-hunting.More layoffs may be coming. Lahmann said he will submit a final reduced educational program to the board in June after receiving recommendations from a budget advisory committee and various employee unions. The final plan will cover teaching and non-teaching jobs.Monday's action was on a preliminary plan for reducing the workforce. Faculty, or certificated, positions had to be addressed first to meet a legal deadline of May 15 for notifying such personnel whether their contracts will be renewed for next school year.Voter rejections in February and last month of a four-year, approximately $45 million levy disrupted district revenue from local property taxes that pays for the equivalent of 24.2 full-time employees--22.2 teachers, a nurse and an interventionist. In addition to eliminating that number of jobs, the district also is cutting 17 positions because of declining student enrollment in schools.Combined, the two figures represent 41.2 jobs that will be lost. But retirements, resignations and leaves of absence drop the actual number of layoffs to 15, district officials said.Sherrie Evans, director of personnel for the district, said a projected enrollment decline of 130 students for the 2000-01 school year led officials to anticipate cutting 11 to 13 teaching positions even before the levy failures.Enrollment also dropped this school year. We knew we were overstaffed last October, Evans said.The 15 jobs being RIFed actually comprise 16 people, since two half-time employees constitute one of the positions.Twenty-three teachers requested leaves of absence for 2000-01, mostly due to the levy failure, Evans said. Also lightening the potential impact of layoffs are resignations by teachers who are either moving from the area or taking jobs elsewhere. Instead of replacing them and others who are retiring, the district will leave their jobs unfilled.The M&O levy, which would replace a current levy that will expire later this year, can't be resubmitted to voters again until 2001. District officials have said that extracurricular activities for students face budget cuts unless the new measure passes."

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