Enrollment and Staff Cuts
Update: I asked, via public disclosure, for the official reports on enrollment. Here's the reply:
Relevant staff members have informed me that the October P223 report is not yet available. Staff anticipates having it by the end of next week, and the report will be posted to the District Data and Reports webpage once available. All available past P223 reports can be found on that webpage as well.End of update
KPLU is saying it incorrectly quoted Superintendent Nyland at last night's Board meeting on enrollment growth on Twitter.
Here's the portion of the meeting where the Superintendent speaks on the issue.
But here's his exact quote (which I transcribed but find difficult to comprehend):
Our enrollment, as mentioned, is up. It's up - uh - I think about 400+students - 411 -uh, however it is down from our projections. It turns out that our projections probably would have been almost exactly right on but uh, but last year we had about 350 students who left the district for neighboring districts, this year we had, uh, about, uh, a little over 1,000 students so see our enrollment pattern in our schools near the boundaries lost students during the strike as parents found spots in Highline or Shoreline or Renton.
So we are working through the process of adjusting staffing at, uh, many of our schools, a few did go up and will get additional staffing and, uh, several went down and, uh, will probably be in the process of losing a teacher. Even after we do that, we still benefit from the 50+ teachers that the Legislature added to as part of McCleary so class sizes at elementary schools even after taking back some of these teachers will still be better than they were a year ago.
You'll note that he does say some students were lost "during the strike" so Kyle Stokes at KPLU did not get it entirely wrong.
Nyland did add that they would be putting in some "hiring and travel restrictions" at the district level to help compensate for that loss to enrollment.
I think that is a lot of students to overcount and I am hoping for clarification on what the Superintendent thinks happened.
But about that enrollment. Here's what the district told schools:
I wanted to share with you that 52,399 students are attending Seattle Public Schools this year, according to our 10 day headcount (9/30). That is an increase of 411 students over last year. While we have more students this year, the number is still lower than we projected by 675.
Annually, at the beginning of the school year, Seattle Public Schools undergoes a staffing adjustment process to monitor enrollment at every school and to adjust staffing levels relative to actual student enrollment. Staffing adjustment decisions are made to match student needs with limited staff resources. In this process, adjustments are made in staff levels at schools to reflect the number of students actually enrolled in a program, grade and school, as opposed to forecasted/ projected enrollments. While our enrollment projections are historically very accurate at the district level, a wide range of factors can influence the final number of students enrolled at a grade, program and school level.
Once receiving student enrollment counts for each school, the district then reevaluates staffing across schools, making adjustments up and down based on each school’s enrollment. Please know that our best efforts are being made to assess all factors for staffing adjustment decisions at all schools. Staffing adjustment recommendations are developed by a team composed of members from Budget, Human Resources, Enrollment Planning, School Operations, Capital Planning, Special Education, Advanced Learning and English Language Learning departments, who use current enrollment numbers in determining staffing adjustments.
Additionally, Enrollment Planning also takes into account other factors in staffing allocations, including projected changes, expected attrition, historical trends in enrollment for each school as well as unique factors affecting each schools’ enrollment. Each school is carefully reviewed for any factors which could impact the classroom.
To the issue of cutting staff, I am hearing from a lot of heartbroken schools. I am buoyed by the positive attitudes from many principals who are trying to right their ships and keep the school on an even keel. A number of schools are having meetings especially for parents in grade levels where a teacher is leaving.
But here's one oddity (from Green Lake Elementary):
Here at Green Lake, even though we have more students than ever before, we do not qualify according to district formulas to keep the number of full time teacher positions we had to begin the year. These decisions were centrally made and follow a specific formula and budget.
We knew we were taking a risk to add an extra classroom. We chose to do this knowing that if we had to return students to their original placement we could do so knowing they would be going back into highly effective classrooms. Ms. Nelson will continue with us as the math teacher due to the generosity of PTA funding this position during budget planning last year. Intermediate teachers will be talking with students in their classrooms tomorrow to explain what will happen. Our tentative plan is to have students start with their new teacher on Monday.
I'm sure there is some sort of explanation in the formula but honestly, if your school is bigger (even if not by much), you still shouldn't lose staff.