SKSD superintendent sends messages on budget and employee cuts

Karst Brandsma shares the school district board of directors’ budget decisions with staff, community

PORT ORCHARD — As a result of a 2019-2020 SKSD budget shortfall identified by South Kitsap School District administrators and the board of directors, a series of communications were delivered by Superintendent Karst Brandsma to school district staff members and residents on May 10.

SKSD to cut 25 teaching, support positions (Kitsap Daily News)

Brandsma’s messages detail in what department areas the employee reductions are to be made.

Brandsma sent this communication to school district staff members:

Dear South Kitsap School District Staff,

Over the past few weeks, I have provided updates about our budget development process. At the May 1 Board Meeting, I presented an initial recommendation for a reduction in [the] educational program. The Board asked for more information and some alternatives. At the May 8 Board Meeting, I presented three scenarios for restorations to those recommended budget cuts.

Many of you attended the meetings and the Board heard testimony from students, staff, and community members. I am pleased to announce the Board approved Resolution 1288 Reduced Educational Program which includes all three restoration scenarios. While some cuts are still necessary due to the budget shortfall and enrollment decline, primarily at the high school level, the Board has agreed to use a portion of the fund balance to help bridge the funding gap.

We are legally required to notify certificated staff by May 15 if they will not have a contract for the coming school year. The timing of these notifications causes a stressful and worrisome process as District administrators wait for announcements of staff retirements, resignations and final student enrollment numbers. As a solution, we have worked with South Kitsap Education Association on an agreement where displaced certificated staff will be offered an alternative to a RIF notice. Impacted certificated staff (approximately 10) will receive a “contract without an assignment” pending permanent placement. Staff who agree to this alternative contract will be available to fill in when needed at all levels and all schools until placed in a permanent assignment using the recall process agreed upon in the SKEA Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The budget development page on our website has been updated. Please continue to send questions and suggestions to skbudget@skschools.org. Please see attached for a budget development update going to all district families later today.

I want to thank all our staff members for your trust and patience as we work through this difficult time. You are a big part of what makes South Kitsap such a special place. Each of you makes a difference for students in our community whether on the front the lines or behind the scenes.

Best regards,

Karst Brandsma

Superintendent

Message to South Kitsap families

The school district superintendent sent this message, also delivered on May 10, to South Kitsap families.

Dear South Kitsap School District families:

In my last communication, I talked about the Legislature’s action and the impact to the District budget. I presented an initial recommendation for a reduction at the May 1 Board Meeting and followed up at the May 8 Board Meeting with three scenarios for restorations to those budget cuts.

After hearing testimony from students, staff and community members, the Board voted unanimously to approve all three budget restoration scenarios in Resolution 1288 Reduced Educational Program. What does this mean for South Kitsap School District? The Board has agreed to use a portion of the fund balance to lessen the budget shortfall until the Levy collection in 2020. The reductions to staff positions are outlined below and are far less than the original recommendation.

The cuts identified do not include retirements, resignations or reallocation of staff. Also, note that certificated staff assigned to the positions listed below may be reassigned based on seniority and per the negotiated agreement with South Kitsap Education Association.

Elementary Certificated Positions

International Baccalaureate Coordinators – 2

Spanish Instructor – 1

Middle School Certificated Positions

International Baccalaureate Coordinator – 0.5

Instructional Specialists – 3

High School Certificated Positions

Math – 1

Science – 2

Social Studies – 2

Credit Recovery – 0.5

Physical Education – 1

World Language – 3

Dean – 1

Certificated Administrative Positions

Elementary Assistant Principal – 2

Athletic Director – 1

Classified Administrative Positions

Assistant Director of Transportation – 1

Classified Staff Positions

Communications Assistant – 1

Security – 2

Transportation – 1

The budget development section on our website has been updated. Visit www.skschools.org/budget for the most current information. Please send any questions or suggestions to skbudget@skschools.org.

While the number of positions reduced is less than originally recommended, each represents a difficult decision. We will continue to monitor enrollment and staff attrition closely. Every employee in the District has an impact on students and student achievement. As an organization, we have worked hard to create systems and programs that improve outcomes for students and there is so much to be proud of across South Kitsap. Thank you for your trust as we work through this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Karst Brandsma

Superintendent

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