(UPDATED WEDNESDAY with update on enrollment)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
With four days to go until the end of the year, and plans already in place for next year, Seattle Public Schools have just been notified of changes to teacher staffing.
In some cases, schools will add teachers. In some cases – they are being told to cut teachers, and Chief Sealth International High School is the hardest hit districtwide, with an order to cut 3 FTE (full-time equivalent) teacher positions, while the largest teacher addition districtwide is at West Seattle High School, with 2.4 more teaching FTEs. (added) Both schools were projected in the district “budget book” to be dropping in enrollment next year, but WSHS’s drop was projected to be larger than CSIHS’s – 1104 to 1090 for Sealth, 956 to 866 for West Seattle.
One of the educators who contacted us anonymously this morning with first word of all this sent along the district’s internal memo and numbers:
Today we are announcing teacher staffing adjustments at several schools. These adjustments are based on updated enrollment projections, open enrollment results, wait list moves, anticipated needs of each program and actual school capacity. If your staffing allocation has changed, please talk to your HR Business Partner to identify next steps for your school. If your allocation has increased, the Capital Projects team will contact you to discuss space implications. If your allocation has decreased, you must notify HR about potential displacements by 6/24.
We are pleased to report we are expecting 53,107 students (headcount) for our 2016-2017 school year, an increase of 783 students over last year’s official October headcount. …
Please keep in mind that while PowerSchool reflects actual enrollment through the current date, the enrollment projections include several additional factors, including the actual data and projected changes, as well as expected attrition and historical trends in enrollment for each school.
As a reminder, core staffing will not be adjusted at this time. We anticipate another set of adjustments following the start of school, which will be based on actual enrollment. At that point, core staffing will be reviewed for possible adjustments. Previously submitted mitigation requests for staffing above standards are still under consideration.
Please remember that elementary and K-8 schools must still adhere to the rules for K-3 class sizes. Schools have the option of using an FTE allocation for a reading and/or math specialist in order to meet the target ratios. The specialist must be assigned to the appropriate grade levels in order to be counted in the state calculations. If your school chooses to pursue this option, you must notify your Executive Director of Schools (EDS). Please see the email sent to all school leaders on May 13 for more details.
General Education: Please refer to the table below for staffing adjustments by school. Parentheses mean a reduction in staffing.
We can’t cut and paste the table, but here’s our transcription of what it lists for schools in the West Seattle area. If a school is NOT listed, that means it is not involved in this round of staffing-level changes:
*Arbor Heights Elementary, adding 1 FTE
*Chief Sealth IHS, losing 3 FTE
*Denny International MS, losing .4 FTE
*Lafayette Elementary, adding 1 FTE
*Madison MS, adding 1.2 FTE
*Schmitz Park Elementary, adding 1 FTE
*West Seattle Elementary, losing 1 FTE
*West Seattle HS, adding 2.4 FTE
Those are “general education” teachers. The letter also includes a table of special-education changes, affecting local schools as follows:
*Chief Sealth IHS, losing .6 FTE resource teacher, adding 1 FTE teacher for the SM4 level
*Fairmount Park Elementary, adding .2 FTE resource teacher
*Roxhill Elementary, losing .2 FTE resource teacher
*West Seattle HS, losing 2 FTEs at the SM2 level and adding 2 FTEs at the SM4 level
(Update: Here’s an explanation of SM2, SM4, and other special-education terminology; thanks to the reader who sent the link.) The letter continues with these closing paragraphs:
Displacement process: If your allocation has been reduced and you need to displace staff you must first try to solicit volunteers. The opportunity for voluntary displacements must be publicized at least five (5) days prior to identifying involuntary displacements. If there are insufficient volunteers, identify the least senior person qualified by category (ies) as the person to displace. If you displace an employee, all remaining teachers must be assigned in their approved categories. Employees must be displaced .5 or 1.0 FTE or to the extent of their contract. (Can be in increments of .4 or .6 at secondary). Complete one displacement form for each teacher displaced, checking the reason the displacement is necessary. …
We know that changes are not easy for our schools, students, staff, parents, and principals. By announcing these changes now, we hope to minimize potential disruption in September/October. Thank you in advance for helping make these adjustments occur smoothly.
The letter is signed by associate superintendents Michael Tolley and Flip Herndon and assistant superintendent Clover Codd.
Individual schools’ budgets for next year, and projected enrollment, had already been published in the “budget book” for 2016-2017 – you can review them starting at page 100. (Also note, we see via saveseattleschools.blogspot.com that the district has a public hearing on next year’s budget at 4:30 pm this Thursday, with time for public comment.)
You might recall that staffing changes ordered a month into the school year caused controversy each of the past two years (here’s our fall 2015 coverage).
We are pursuing more information and will update with whatever more we find out.
ADDED 5:40 PM: We received this from the district’s chief engagement officer Carri Campbell:
The projections used in the 2016-17 Budget Book were done in February 2016. Those projections were updated in June, to incorporate open enrollment results and wait list moves. The revised projections have been shared with all principals.
The new projections were re-applied to our school staffing model (WSS) and as a result, adjustments (both up and down) were identified for some of our schools.
This process is a standard part of the district’s annual cycle of matching staffing to enrollment. We plan to examine staffing levels again after school starts in the fall, once actual enrollment numbers are known.
Campbell offered to put us in touch with district enrollment director Ashley Davies. We’ll be accepting the offer as part of followups on this.
ADDED WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON: We spoke with Davies at noontime today and will be publishing a followup later this afternoon. Meantime, the updated enrollment projections are now on the district website, showing Sealth losing more than 70 students from the February projections, and WSHS gaining about the same amount.