After further review, nothing has changed, and despite all the sound and fury that erupted last week, culminating in a student walkout, Garfield High School will be one less teacher. But at least the ax won’t fall until next semester, calming the fears of many students and parents who believed a firing was imminent.
“After a review of the official state-mandated October 1 enrollment count, the district maintains its recommendation to shift the funding for one teacher from Garfield’s budget allocation to a school that is overenrolled,” interim superintendent Larry Nyland wrote in a letter circulated to the “Garfield High School community” on Monday.
“Please know that this adjustment is not expected to affect a teacher of a core required subject and will not occur immediately; the affected teacher is expected to stay in place at least through the end of the first semester in order to minimize any disruptions to students’ schedules.
“Each year, the district is required to complete an official enrollment headcount on October 1 and report those numbers to the state. Our school funding and staffing is based on the number of students enrolled in each school.”
Nyland noted that final enrollment count for Garfield stands at 1,586, which is 67 students fewer than the August estimate of 1,653. Staffing is based on a 30:1 teacher-student ratio. “Garfield enrollment numbers, then, suggest reducing staff by two teachers, but the district is recommending reducing by only one to lessen impact to students,” Nyland wrote.
“The data shows that Garfield High School is essentially receiving the same amount of money per student as our other high schools receive. The only difference is that Garfield does receive fewer dollars overall because the school has fewer students with special needs and fewer English Language Learners. The reduction would take Garfield from 60 to 59 teachers. This is roughly the same number of teachers as last year. For the 2013-14 school year, Garfield was staffed at 59.3 teachers and had 18 more students (1,604) than this year’s October count.”
Last Thursday, a student walked out of class to protest the cut of a yet to be specified teacher. The demonstration came one week after Nyland informed principals throughout the district that Seattle school was $3 million short of anticipated revenue, which meant having to reduce the staffing budget from schools with lower enrollment and add staffing budgets to schools with higher enrollment “to assure our class sizes and support personnel are equitably distributed to best support all students’ teaching and learning.”