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Monroe teachers to receive layoff notices

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By Alejandro Dominguez
Herald Writer
MONROE -- The Monroe School District knows it needs to make cuts. Without a state budget, how much and where to cut is still up in the air.
Monday night, the school board made another step toward cutting expenses by agreeing to issue layoff notices to the teachers who occupy the equivalent of 14.5 positions.
"We are only approving the notifications," board president Jamie Wright said. "We still have many areas to look into the budget."
Four of these positions will come from elementary and middle schools teachers. These positions would represent an annual $340,000 in savings to the district for pay and benefits. The rest would come from teachers at the Washington Virtual Academy, a statewide program that offers high school courses for Monroe students via Internet, and which could lose state funding.
In total, the district employs 389 teachers.
The board approved issuing the notices with a 3-1 vote. If teachers are to be laid off, they must receive notice by May 15th.
Board members Greg Accetturo, Jim Scott, and Wright voted in favor of the notices. Debra Kolrud voted against, and memberTom MacIntyre was absent.
Cuts should be made in other places like in salaries for administrators and principals, Kolrud said.
About 30 district employees and the superintendent agreed to contract concessions worth $120,000, which the board accepted at its March 14 meeting.
"I believe more cuts should have been done," Kolrud said.
The district also has consolidated two middle schools and suspended mid-day school transportation by changing its kindergarten program. These two measures represent about $923,000 in savings.
Some of these layoff notices can be rescinded, but more cuts may be needed depending on which version of the state budget passes.
The district could have a shortfall ranging from $230,000 to $892,000.
"There's so many variables," superintendent Ken Hoover said at the meeting.
The district also is facing a declining enrollment. It lost about 50 students this year, meaning a loss of $250,000 in state funding. This trend is expected to continue next school year with 5,062 students projected or about 100 fewer students than this year, spokeswoman Rosemary O'Neil said.
The Legislature started a special session Tuesday.
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422;
Story tags » Monroe School District

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