At its Sept. 8 special meeting, the HSD School Board voted to approve a reduction in staffing for a number of HSD employees. This resolution impacts over 30 full- and part-time classified staff members, either directly through a reduction in force or indirectly through a change in assignment.
According to HSD Superintendent Steve Marshall, the decision to make staffing reductions was a difficult one for the board. He added, "Our board shares my belief that our employees are our greatest asset and they are a huge part of what makes the HSD a special place to learn."
The reality is that a vast majority of the HSD's budget (85%) is dedicated to staff salaries and benefits. The district entered this school year on a very tight budget and made a number of program reductions and staff reassignments over the summer. The state largely funds school districts based on student enrollment and yesterday, our official student count confirmed a drop in enrollment of 220 students. This has created an overall budget shortfall of more than $2 million for the 2020-21 school year, which is why our board has directed an immediate reduction in force to our classified staff, effective September 24.
"Delivering bad news like this is an absolute heartbreaker," said Marshall. "I am well aware of the negative impact that this will have on our employees, their families, and our school communities. In a small district like Hockinson, our employees are more than colleagues. They are friends and neighbors. To our students they are trusted adults, mentors, and supporters. I wish that none of these staffing reductions were necessary to overcome the enormous financial challenges our district is facing because of this pandemic."
The HSD remains hopeful that laid off or reassigned employees will return when schools are able to transition to an in-person learning model.
The HSD has created frequently asked questions regarding this reduction.