Teachers reinstated after layoff notices

On June 20, the Sequim School Board reinstated 11 teachers previously issued layoff notices.

Brian Lewis, business manager of Sequim School District, said the notices were sent in May before the state Legislature finished the budget.

Though the budget was passed May 23, the school district still had to wait for the revenue estimate from the Superintendent of Public Instruction, which was received June 15.

"We put our enrollment numbers in and got the revenue estimate," Lewis said. "We determined we were safe in bringing back the employees we laid off."

The 11 teachers received phone calls with the good news after the June 20 school board meeting. They are Tracy Barnes, Kevin Burke, Krista Chatters, Shannon Green, Victoria Helwick, Jennifer Lopez, Donna Olson, Dena Riccobene, Bryan Smelcer, Chris Stevens and Tracelene Williams.

"It is great news that we were able to reinstate our staff," Superintendent Bill Bentley said. "While we were fairly certain this would be the outcome, understandably the wait was difficult. We wish to thank everyone for their patience."

Lewis said cuts have been made in other ways, such as not filling five certified staff positions vacated through retirement.

"Three para-educators retired and one died, a custodian resigned and a vacant groundskeeping position was eliminated, resulting in the cut of six classified positions," he said.

Bentley said the school district is fortunate to be able to reinstate staff and continue programs, due in large part to the fact that over the past three years the district has continued to prepare for difficult financial times.

"In the next three years, we will spend reserve dollars to soften the impact of the reduced state funding," he said. "The 2011-2012 proposed budget is the initial implementation of this financial strategy."

The school board will hold a budget workshop and board meeting on July 25 and a budget adoption board meeting on Aug. 22.

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