Some students at South Kitsap High School had planned a walk-out protest of the district’s plans to eliminate 68 positions, including 61 teachers’ jobs, Principal Jerry Holsten said Monday.
Holsten’s comments confirmed some chatter the Kitsap Sun heard via its Facebook page earlier in the day.
“Yes, we heard about something this morning,” Holsten said. “We addressed it with staff and with some students, and there was no activity.”
Morale at the high school (and throughout the district) is low, given the school board’s decision last week to make plans for its most sweeping layoffs in recent memory. The students had apparently planned a sympathy strike by walking out on classes.
“We respect and admire our students’ opinions and values, and their interest in having a voice,” Holsten said. “We simply encourage them to present their voice in a different fashion that’s less disruptive to their schools.”
Although the state Legislature plans to pump additional funding into the K-12 education system, the budget is far from finalized. Whether or not some or all of the jobs will be saved is a big unknown.
The board is required by law to notify teachers who will be RIF’d, giving them adequate time to seek other jobs before the next school year. The board on May 8 elected to stick with the regular May 15 deadline (that’s Wednesday), instead of going with an extension to June 15, approved by the Legislature at the end of the regular session. One board member said it was a courtesy to teachers possibly facing layoffs, since June 15 would give them little planning time.
A total of 25 staff members have said they will retire or resign at the end of this year, so the number of proposed layoffs is 43.
RIF list includes 3.3 administrative FTEs: 1.3 at the district
office, an assistant principal at the high school and one
elementary school assistant principal.
Also slated for elimination are:
25.5 elementary level teaching positions
22.9 secondary teaching positions
3.0 special educational teachers
8.5 career and technical education teachers
An instructional specialist, part of a school nurse position and 4.088 classified or non-teaching support positions make up the rest of cuts.
To add to the stress, documentation is due this week on the state’s new method of evaluating teachers and principals, called TPEP, for Teacher/Principal Evaluation Project.
“This is tough time for everybody, staff, students, administrators, parents,” Holsten said. “It’s a stressful time when we have to talk about staff reductions. It’s a somber mood, however our staff are great professionals, and they’re making sure it doesn’t affect our students’ education.”