Tuesday, May 12, 2009

breaking: Olympia School District avoids full RIF

The Olympia School District RIF communication team announced this morning that a RIF of certificated staff with continuing contracts is no longer on the table. Via email:
We are happy to report that earlier today the RIF Communications Team received word from Superintendent Lahmann that there will be no certificated reduction in force for the 2009-2010 school year.

Please keep in mind that the decision to not implement a reduction in force maintains the employment status of continuing contract employees only. There are many employees of the District who do not hold continuing contracts. The District still has a significant budget shortfall and will need to make difficult decisions both about employment and placement status.
Superintendent Lahmann also emailed to comment on the situation:
While I believe we fared better than expected in terms of our budget, the decision to retain our continuing certificated employees in the face of a $2 million budget shortfall means we will need to cut back other programs, activities and services people have come to rely upon and enjoy. Of course, I welcome your involvement and input as we work with the School Board to write a budget that supports our mission of promoting student learning.
As you can tell, difficult days are still ahead. Upcoming meetings to discuss our remaining options include...
Thursday, May 14 – School Board Study Session, Knox Administrative Center, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 19 – Community Forum on the Budget, Marshall Middle School, 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 21 – Community Forum on the Budget, Washington Middle School, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, June 17 – Public Hearing on the Budget, Knox Administrative Center, 6:30 p.m.
Note that the study session is the only meeting at which public comment will not be taken.

Lahmann will release a detailed list of potential cuts "later this week." I'll be certain to post them as soon as they are available. More budget information can be found here.

Update: The Olympian has more.
In Olympia, teachers will not receive layoff notices, but other Olympia district job cuts are “not certain at this point,” and will depend on the final 2009-10 budget, said district spokesman Peter Rex.

Superintendent Bill Lahmann’s budget recommendation will be discussed at a board work session on Thursday, though no testimony will be taken at that meeting. Public forums on the budget will be next week.

“So it’s not going to be a painless budget, but we are able to protect the classroom and move forward on our strategic plan,” Rex said.

“A couple factors came into play. The district was committed to protecting the classroom and retaining teachers. Second, employees have done a great job of saving money this year, which has left us with a larger ending fund balance than we anticipated. And third, the federal stimulus package passed by Congress and President Obama have helped us devote resources to special education and Title I,” Rex said.

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