Kent School District to cut about 30 jobs; initial estimate targeted 110 employees

The job cuts in the Kent School District won't be quite as deep as expected for 2011-12.

The Kent School District expects to cut about 30 employees from the 2011-12 budget. Students gather (above) outside of Kent-Meridian High School.

The Kent School District expects to cut about 30 employees from the 2011-12 budget. Students gather (above) outside of Kent-Meridian High School.

The job cuts in the Kent School District won’t be quite as deep as expected for 2011-12.

An estimated 30 employees – including as many as 15 teachers – are expected to lose their jobs because of a loss of federal and state funding to the district.

School district estimates in April indicated as many as 110 employees would be cut, but that was before the Legislature had adopted its final budget in May.

“At one point we were looking at over 100 jobs,” said Chris Loftis, spokesman for the Kent School District, in a phone interview Monday.

The Kent School Board approved cuts to 110 employees in April as part of an overall $15 million budget reduction plan. School officials had to estimate how much state revenue would be lost since the Legislature had yet to approve a final budget that included cuts in school funding.

The state cuts to the district turned out to be about $5 million rather than $6 million, which means fewer job cuts in a total annual budget of $325 million.

With 3,300 employees, including more than 1,700 teachers, the exact number of teachers to be cut remains to be determined. If they have not already done so, teachers officially have until July 1 to announce their retirement or out-of-district move. Those decisions could open up a few more jobs depending on the qualifications of each employee.

“Be it three, 13 or 30 we will be losing more than just these good people’s services in this reduction in force, we will be losing them,” Loftis said. “Their energy, their talents, their skills, and their every-day contributions will be sorely missed. We are not over-staffed in the Kent School District so every cut hurts.”

Loftis said employees who lose their jobs will receive a two-day seminar from a career transition company followed by 60 days of online support in finding a new job.

“It’s a small, but hopefully helpful, gesture that will assist these good people in continuing their service to students and communities in the future,” Loftis said.

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