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Originally published Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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School layoff notices go to 172 more in Seattle

Seattle Public Schools confirmed Friday that it notified 172 teachers, counselors and other certificated staff this week that they won't have jobs in September.

Seattle Times education reporter

Seattle Public Schools confirmed Friday that it notified 172 teachers, counselors and other certificated staff this week that they won't have jobs in September.

Along with 33 first- or second-year teachers whose contracts were not renewed a few months ago, that means that 205 of the district's certificated employees now need to look for work.

Under state law, school districts had to tell certificated employees by Friday if they planned to lay the employees off for the upcoming school year.

The layoffs are driven largely by deep cuts in the state budget, which includes about $800 million in reductions for the state's public schools.

Statewide, the number of teacher layoffs is now approaching 3,000, the state's largest teachers union said Friday.

Seattle and other school districts hope to rehire many of the dismissed teachers by September. Whether they can do that depends on how many other teachers they lose through attrition. The districts say they must be conservative now to ensure they don't employ more teachers than they can afford.

Seattle officials also say they still don't know just how much federal stimulus money they will receive, which could further offset some of the layoffs.

About 10 counselors are among the 172 certificated employees who received pink slips this week, said district spokeswoman Patti Spencer, but she said most of the others — if not all — are teachers.

High schools had 54 of the 172 layoffs. Middle schools had 29, elementaries 61 and K-8s 20, Spencer said. Six teachers on leave also were notified they no longer have jobs.

Staff members at 17 schools — those that are part of a joint union-district effort to close the achievement gap — were largely exempt from layoffs. Among them are Rainier Beach, Cleveland and Chief Sealth high schools and the middle and elementary schools that feed into them.

Because layoffs are largely based on seniority, the newest and youngest teachers are heavily affected, including some who take on special projects such as a school newspaper.

In Shoreline, for example, one of the dismissed teachers, Andy Kidd, is a second-year teacher at Shorecrest High who just directed the school's successful run of the musical "Grease."


School districts also are reducing their classified and administrative staffs.

In addition to reducing its teaching force, Seattle is closing five schools, changing school start times to reduce school-bus costs, saving $4 million by laying off employees in the central office, and spending some of its rainy-day savings.

Linda Shaw: 206-464-2359 or

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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