Port Angeles School Board to eye possible layoffs

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles School Board will consider tonight a resolution to give Superintendent Jane Pryne authorization to lay off as many as 15 employees for the coming school year.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Central Services Building, 216 E. Fourth St.

The authorization would include the possibility of pink slips for five teachers and 10 support staff members.

The Port Angeles School District has been reducing staff through attrition for the past few years and has issued similar authorizations without actual layoffs.

In 2012, the board approved as many as 47 layoffs for the 2012-2013 school year, including 25 teachers and 22 classified staff. But it was able to complete the necessary reductions primarily through retirements, voluntary departures and reassignments.

The district’s projected student enrollment continues to fall, and funding from state and federal sources remains uncertain, according to Pryne’s report to the board.

“The estimated impact of enrollment decline and anticipated federal sequester revenue losses were recently estimated to exceed $500,000 for the 2013-14 school year,” she wrote.

According to the March 2013 enrollment count, 3,626 full-time students were enrolled in the district, compared with 3,682 full-time students in March 2012.

The district has estimated that it will lose another 70 students in the 2013-2014 school year.

The state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision requires the state fully fund education, but current legislation doesn’t carry enough money.

The decision suggested that the Legislature add $1.7 billion annually to school district budgets until 2018, but the amount currently proposed by lawmakers is only $1 billion.

Whether the schools actually receive any of that money in 2013-14 is uncertain, school officials have said.

“In order to reduce district expenditures nearer to the level of reasonably anticipated revenues, it is necessary to make certain reductions in the district’s educational program, including possible reductions in certificated and classified positions for the 2013-14 school year,” Pryne wrote in her report to the school board.

The board also will consider a change to school board meeting schedules.

Pryne and the board have proposed moving district meetings to 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursday of each month, beginning in July.

The board currently meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month.

If the board approves the change, the first Thursday meeting would be held at
7 p.m. July 11.

The change in meeting dates would allow more time for notification of changes to board agendas in the two days before meetings, Pryne said.

Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 07. 2013 6:17PM
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