RIF notices unlikely in PT, Brinnon

Kirk Boxleitner kboxleitner@ptleader.com
Posted 4/25/17

Port Townsend Superintendent John Polm echoed the assessment of Amy Khile, director of finance and business manager, that the Port Townsend School District is not planning any reduction in force …

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RIF notices unlikely in PT, Brinnon

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Port Townsend Superintendent John Polm echoed the assessment of Amy Khile, director of finance and business manager, that the Port Townsend School District is not planning any reduction in force (RIF) actions this year.

“We are still waiting on the state budget,” Khile said.

“We are watching for budget news from Olympia daily,” Polm reiterated. “But given that the levy cliff has been delayed, for which we are thankful, we are not anticipating any RIFs at this time.”

The cutoff date to notify staff of pending reductions or layoffs is in mid-May.

Brinnon Superintendent Patricia Beathard assured the public that her district is not planning to send out any RIF notices either.

“We will be conservative with projection of classified staff hours, but we do not anticipate significant staffing changes,” Beathard said.

Chimacum Superintendent Rick Thompson went into more detail, expressing the hope that a combination of resignations, retirements and attrition would minimize the potential need for a reduction in force.

“What complicates matters, for all the school districts, is that we have to determine our overall staffing before the state Legislature releases its funding numbers,” Thompson said. “Our cutoff date to notify staff is mid-May, but the last two legislative sessions have extended into June.”

While Chimacum (or another district) could technically push for an extension of its own deadline, Thompson noted that affording themselves too much additional time makes it more difficult to present a district budget for public comment by July.

“Those staff members who possess multiple credentials, or serve more specialized areas, are less likely to receive RIFs,” Thompson said. “But yes, this still sets up a situation where a pool of people could be faced with making career decisions under uncertain circumstances.”

Thompson worries not only about nebulous state funds, but also the specter of potentially significant federal cuts; at worst, he still sees any potential RIF notices as amounting to “not a lot, but some.”

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