Spokane Public School layoffs target teachers, not administrators

May 4, 2011

Spokane Public School officials sent out 238 layoff notices to school district employees this week. District officials feel they don’t have enough state funding, despite the fact their budget is higher than it has ever been before, and they are educating 3,000 fewer students than they did just 10 years ago.

Among those who have been told they might be terminated:

  • 72 elementary school teachers
  • 42 high school and middle school teachers
  • 28 special-education teachers
  • 55 counselors
  • 10 speech language pathologists
  • 6 librarians
  • 6 psychologists
  • 7 occupational therapists and physical therapists
  • 5 specialty educators

Union rules require the youngest teachers be laid off first, even if they are the most effective at educating students. In fact, on my Facebook page today, one local friend told me “I have a friend who is a great teacher and just got cut. They are cutting the new teachers rather than the bad teachers. What a shame.”

It is interesting to note that the list of possible layoffs does not include any administrators. WPC's Key Facts about Spokane Public Schools shows that there are more than 110 employees making more than $100,000 per year- most of them, administrators. Furthermore, only 42% of the employees of Spokane Public Schools are actually classroom teachers, yet 62% of the proposed layoffs come from the teaching ranks.

Just a few weeks ago, Spokane Public Schools assistant superintendent Staci Vesneske told a local TV station that “we’re going to have to look at reductions for administrators.” It appears that is not happening, at least not yet.


Washington state education budget breakdown

The article about Spokane Public School teacher layoffs due to budget cuts was interesting. However, I have questions about the state's education budget as a whole. They keep saying their budgets have been cut, but I have heard interviews saying their budgets have increased. Is there a place I can confirm this? If so where can I see these budget cuts/increases.

Spokane Public Schools layoff notices

Thank you, Chris, for this comment. I share your skepticism.

Administrators do say they will look at reductions for administrators.

They also say they will review the K-6 math program. This claim is there on the Web site, despite the fact that administrators also have said they don't plan to change anything in the K-8 math materials for at least two years because they're waiting for the national standards/tests/curriculum initiatives.

They no longer have much credibility with me.

Laurie Rogers
Betrayed - a blog on education