Highline School Budget Cuts May Mean 228 Teacher Layoffs

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by Scott Schaefer

As if the seemingly endless stream of daily layoffs, rising unemployment rates and closing area businesses isn’t enough bad news, now comes word of major budget cuts for Highline Public Schools, which faces an estimated $8 million in cuts for next year due to reductions in state funding.

As a result, up to 228 teachers could be laid off.

These are in addition to $3 million in cuts already made during the current school year.

Superintendent John Welch has already announced cuts for next year totaling $2.2 million dollars. These cuts are to the central office, including administrator and other non-teaching positions.

“In our earlier projections based on the governor’s budget, we did not anticipate the need to lay off teachers,” Welch said in a statement. “Since then, the state budget shortfall has grown significantly, and the state House and Senate have published their budgets, which contain much deeper cuts to public education funding. As a result, we now anticipate a reduction in force of 228 FTE (Full-Time Employee) teaching positions.”

The public and Highline staff are invited to give input on these options at the following community budget forums (click on the school for address/directions):

Interpreters will be available, and childcare will be provided for children ages 3-12. No children in diapers, please.

Parents and concerned citizens are encouraged to attend and share their comments with the superintendent on ideas like:

If you were managing the district budget in these tight financial times, what areas would you prioritize and in what areas would you reduce spending?

If you can’t attend, you can always send in an anonymous comment by clicking here.

Highline Public Schools serves over 17,000 students in 35 different schools (18 elementary, 4 middle and 13 high schools), ranging in an area from White Center to Des Moines.

More information, including specific budget cuts, is available on the Highline Public Schools website.


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