Enrollment drop at Highline Public Schools leads to cutting of 15 teachers

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On Friday, Sept. 21, Highline Public Schools announced that they are starting the 2018-19 school year with 700 students fewer than projected, which means that – because the state funds school districts on a per-student basis – they will suffers a loss of $3.5 million in revenue.

The district says that they will need to spend some of the money set aside to prevent budget cuts next year, and reduce staff by 15 teaching positions.

“The demographer who projects enrollment numbers for most Puget Sound districts — and who is typically right on target — believes this is due to the increasing cost of living in our area, which is accelerating faster than anticipated,” the district said.

“The bottom line is that we have more teachers than our funding supports,” Superintendent Susan Enfield said. “Some students will need to be moved to different classrooms. I know this is not what anyone expected, and I understand how disruptive and disappointing these moves will be. We will do everything we can to minimize the impact on our students.”

Enfield added:

“I want to be clear that we would be in this situation regardless of our recently bargained salary increases. I am committed to paying all our staff competitive salaries in order to attract and retain the high-quality professionals we have here in Highline. Teacher pay will not be affected and no teachers will be laid off. Displaced teachers will be moved to other positions or to our substitute pool to reduce our costs for substitute teachers. This will help us make up the revenue shortfall.

“As good stewards of public dollars we must operate within our means. By keeping our expenditures in line with revenue this year, we will avoid significant layoffs and program cuts next year.

“If your child’s class will be affected, your principal will contact you by Wednesday, September 26. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your principal, or you can contact me directly at [email protected] or 206-631-3070.”

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