Hoquiam schools announce plan to reduce staff

Hoquiam School District staff will be reduced by 19 positions – 8 through attrition and 11 by reduction in force – if the school board approves a “reduced educational program” resolution at a special meeting Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Hoquiam High School library.

The reductions are necessary to address a $2 million expected budget shortfall in the 2019-20 school year “related to changes in school funding laws and increased expenditures due to contractual commitments,” according to the resolution the board will consider.

Superintendent Mike Villarreal sent a memo to the school board Friday to announce the proposed reductions and upcoming resolution vote.

The resolution calls for a decrease in certificated staff – teachers and other employees whose positions require some sort of special certification – of 5 positions. Four of those would be through attrition, which can include retirement, leaving one who would be laid off.

Classified staff, which includes cafeteria workers and other employees who don’t need special certification, would be reduced by 11 positions, 3 through attrition, another 8 would be laid off. One position in the district office would be lost by attrition, and 2 in the maintenance and custodial staff would be laid off.

If the board approves the reduction in staff resolution, the next day, the school district will announce which specific positions are affected and give that information to district employee unions. In the weeks that follow, the district will meet with the Hoquiam Teachers Association to discuss transfers and determine leaves of absence positions. Villarreal said more information will be made public once the impacted individuals have been notified.

At the Thursday school board meeting, board president Hoki Moir explained the budget shortfall was caused partially by the new state school funding formula under the Legislature’s “McCleary fix” designed so that the state pays a greater share of the cost of basic education. Moir said that formula has left Hoquiam and four other districts in the county in the 10 most negatively impacted by the legislation.