It was not immediately clear what staff positions — ranging from teachers to secretaries to librarians — would be eliminated across the district's 42 schools.
Kent School District (KSD) is slashing dozens of staff and administrative positions across schools, in addition to eliminating top leadership roles, as part of a wide-ranging plan to address a budget deficit.
The district is eliminating nine administrator jobs and 127 staff positions in the 2018-19 school year, the district announced in a news release Tuesday afternoon. It was not immediately clear what positions — ranging from teachers to secretaries to librarians — would be eliminated across the district’s 42 schools.
Officials did not consider personnel performance while budgeting for the layoffs, according to the release, and the cuts are a result of needing to reduce workforce costs. School leaders learned of the changes last week.
“To make these tough decisions, we looked at the entire KSD system,” Superintendent Dr. Calvin J. Watts said in the release. “We looked closely at several factors at the school level including enrollment, program needs, student needs, and the unique needs of each school community.”
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The nine administrator jobs are within eight schools, while the other layoffs total about 8 percent of the district’s current staff, according to the release.
The announcement Tuesday follows officials’ move last month to eliminate 45 positions in its central-administration center and scale back on some employee benefits for the 2018-19 year.
In total, the staffing cuts will save the district about $18 million, the release says.
“Moving forward, the KSD organizational structure will be ‘leaner and not meaner’ beginning with leadership at the highest level,” the release says.
In August, the school district said it had a $6.9 million budget shortfall for the 2016-17 fiscal year, which ended the same day most of the district’s students started school. The district pointed to several reasons for the deficit, including wrong enrollment projections and increases in staffing, salaries and programs that were based on those projections.
The district only grew by about 100 students from the 2015-16 school year and the 2016-17 school year, but district staff had projected more based on new housing being built in the area. But some housing plans didn’t materialize, the district said. The district also cited more students moving to the Running Start program and Excel Public Charter School in Kent as another reason the projections were off.
Voters narrowly passed two Kent levy measures in a special election last month; one of which is an enrichment levy to replace a current levy, which generates revenue for about 20 percent of the district’s budget. The other solidified funding for six-year capital improvements.
Seattle Times staff reporter Paige Cornwell contributed to this report.