Education Funding
7:45 am
Wed March 19, 2014

District Rescinds Planned Staffing Cuts At Seattle Schools

Seattle Public Schools has rescinded staffing cuts it planned to make at schools across the district.

Superintendent Jose Banda said after analyzing the supplemental budget the Legislature passed last week, the district won’t need to reduce the hours of many secretaries, counselors and other employees.

The cuts amounted to the equivalent of 50 full-time positions, but the reduced hours would instead have turned full-time positions into half-time.

"We finally know how much money we’re actually getting from the state, and it’s more than what we had originally budgeted because we had to work on assumptions," Banda said.

But the Seattle teachers’ union said there’s more to the story.

In an email to its members, Seattle Education Association said the credit for the budget revision goes to school staff for rejecting their proposed budgets in schoolwide votes.

"Educators are just telling the district that the level of funding that was being proposed and the allocations out to schools was not doable. Schools cannot function on that level of funding," said SEA president Jonathan Knapp.

The union had argued that the district had enough money in reserve to protect school budgets, and Knapp said SEA was able to convince the district that it was overestimating expenses.

But Banda said the district had promised all along it would reconsider the cuts once state funding was announced and that union pressure did not play a role in the budget decision.

The superintendent and the union agree on one thing: they both say the Legislature has a long way to go to fully fund public education.