Oct. 13, 2015
Dear Louisa Boren STEM K-8 community,
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) October staffing adjustment has been finalized and unfortunately affects STEM K-8. District enrollment shortfalls necessitated the displacement of STEM’s K-8 class size reduction position. This position was assigned to reduce class sizes in our 3rd and 4th grades. Lower than projected district-wide enrollment, combined with higher than anticipated operating costs, resulted in SPS being unable to support positions below contracted class size ratios. Displaced staff are reassigned to support schools with enrollment above projections.
The affects of staff displacement are challenging for schools and families. Teachers have already developed relationships with classes and are implementing vital programs. Our SPS bargaining agreement assigns staff displacement according to years of Washington State teaching experience. STEM K-8 teacher John Castilleja, who currently fills a support role for our 3rd and 3rd/4th grade team, graciously volunteered to be displaced. Although Mr. Castilleja has been at STEM for a short time, he has many years of teaching experience in Washington State. He volunteered for displacement to minimize the affect on students and families of changing classroom teachers. Mr. Castilleja will continue to work at STEM through October 23. He will be missed!
We have not figured out all the answers regarding how Mr. Castilleja’s displacement will affect our 3rd and 4th grades. During the next two weeks we will finalize plans to respond to the staffing adjustment. Our discussions will place students’ interests first, and work to minimize disruptions to learning. We will keep you informed regarding necessary changes. Please feel free to contact me directly with questions and concerns.
Information was previously sent to all SPS families explaining how the fall staff adjustment process works. Some of that information is pasted at the bottom of this letter for reference.
On behalf of Seattle Public Schools I offer my heartfelt apology for the pain and disruptions this adjustment will create for students, families, and staff. Thanks for your ongoing support of Lousia Boren STEM K-8. It makes all the difference.
SPS Fall Staff Adjustment Process:
Annually, at the beginning of the school year, Seattle Public Schools undergoes a staffing adjustment process to monitor enrollment at every school and to adjust staffing levels relative to actual student enrollment. Staffing adjustment decisions are made to match student needs with limited staff resources. In this process, adjustments are made in staff levels at schools to reflect the number of students actually enrolled in a program, grade and school, as opposed to forecasted/ projected enrollments. While our enrollment projections are historically very accurate at the district level, a wide range of factors can influence the final number of students enrolled at a grade, program and school level.
Once receiving student enrollment counts for each school, the district then reevaluates staffing across schools, making adjustments up and down based on each school’s enrollment. Please know that our best efforts are being made to assess all factors for staffing adjustment decisions at all schools. Staffing adjustment recommendations are developed by a team composed of members from Budget, Human Resources, Enrollment Planning, School Operations, Capital Planning, Special Education, Advanced Learning and English Language Learning departments, who use current enrollment numbers in determining staffing adjustments.
Additionally, Enrollment Planning also takes into account other factors in staffing allocations, including projected changes, expected attrition, historical trends in enrollment for each school as well as unique factors affecting each schools’ enrollment. Each school is carefully reviewed for any factors which could impact the classroom.
There are 52,399 students are attending Seattle Public Schools this year, according to SPS 10 day headcount (9/30). That is an increase of 411 students over last year. While while SPS has more students this year, the number is still lower than we projected by 675.