Seattle Public Schools was able to prevent reassigning 40 teachers because of $2 million it set aside to reduce disruptions.
Teachers will be added to 17 Seattle schools and no schools will lose any teachers, even in schools with lower-than-projected enrollment, the school district announced this week.
The district was able to prevent disruptions thanks to a $2 million fund the Seattle School Board set aside last year. Without it, 40 teachers would have been reassigned, according to Sherri Kokx, the district’s director of school operations.
The final numbers came after the district announced earlier this month that it may have to reassign some teachers and create additional split-grade classes.
The district’s enrollment count is about 53,000 students, which is 100 students less than the projected number, though that number may change after the annual Oct. 1 head count. Last year, 52,399 students attended Seattle schools. Superintendent Larry Nyland previously said the enrollment numbers were higher than projected numbers.
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“It varies every single day,” Kokx said. “We have kids downstairs right now enrolling.”
In total, additional teaching positions were added to 11 elementary schools, one middle school and five high schools. A half-time principal was assigned to Green Lake Elementary, which has had substantial growth of nearly 100 students from last year.
The principals can make adjustments based on each school’s needs, Kokx said.
Additional special-education positions, as well as 11 instructional assistants, were added to several schools. Two schools reduced their English Language Learners teaching staff, but three other schools received additional staff members, according to the district.
Staff members will be added to 17 schools that had higher-than-projected numbers, or to reduce the number of split classes within a building. At Loyal Heights Elementary, for example, a fourth teacher was added for the nearly 90 kindergarten students who enrolled. Parents had previously been told that if they didn’t get a new teacher, the school may have to move an upper-grade teacher to kindergarten.
The School Board set aside $2 million in response to reassignments last year, when 11 teachers and eight instructional assistants were moved to different schools just weeks after classes started. The board recognized that the changes would have been a “substantial disruption” to students and families, and wanted to prevent that this year, Kokx said.
The district is also on track to meet its target for student-to-teacher ratios for kindergarten through third grade, Kokx said. In order to receive additional state funding, K-3 classes must be between 20 and 25 students, depending on the grade and whether the school is classified as “high poverty.” That doesn’t mean every class will have those numbers, only that overall the district has met the student-teacher ratio.