Issaquah School District will recall most teachers who received layoff notices
May 20, 2009
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 2 p.m. May 20, 2009
Issaquah School District Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said today some — and possibly all — of the 158 teachers marked for layoffs may be able to keep their jobs.
In a letter posted on the district Web site, Rasmussen said a worst-case scenario projected by the district would not likely come to pass. Instead of $10.5 million in cuts, the district stands to lose $7.3 million in state funding.
Rasmussen said the district expects to recall most teachers who received reduction in force notifications last month. The district will likely lose between 40 and 45 positions as a result of attrition, retirements and contracts that will not be continued.
Class sizes will also be increased by one student per classroom next year to help cut costs. The superintendent said principals would also be given more latitude to determine the best class size ratios and how to effectively use staff time.
“While significant, the reductions in state revenue — and our resulting reconciled district budget — will be considerably better than our worst-case scenario,” Rasmussen wrote.
In his letter, the superintendent outlined how the district would overcome the funding gap. He noted how hours for administrative employees and custodians had been trimmed to save money.
“After reconciling the $7.3 million in lost state revenue with other mitigating factors in our budget process, such as increased funding from student growth – we will be able to cover more than a third of our deficit with the $2.2 million in offsetting, nonclassroom related reductions we identified in April,” Rasmussen wrote. “We will bridge the rest of the deficit through a one-student increase in class-size ratios.”
Although officials worked to pare the district budget in the face of falling state support, Rasmussen said the district still faces systemic challenges. He said future cuts could be deeper as federal stimulus dollars dissipate.
“These reductions are not painless,” he wrote. “We receive less per-pupil funding than almost every other school district in the state, and we rank the lowest in King County and among large school districts in administrative spending. We are among the leanest and we are getting leaner.”