Community Education

Peninsula School District cuts target district office, deans

Posted on April 24th, 2023 By:

Peninsula School District on Friday shared details of positions eliminated or reduced because of $12 million in budget cuts for the upcoming year.

The announcement revealed some teaching staff positions — including deans at some elementaries and high schools — will be among those affected, along with non-teaching support staff. In addition, the district office is slated to be trimmed significantly.

The budget gap results from lower enrollment and the loss of pandemic aid, issues affecting K-12 schools throughout the state.

Detailing the cuts

More than 40 full-time-equivalent, non-teaching positions will be eliminated next year under the district’s plan. About half of those will come as a result of resignations and retirements.

The district has reduced hours in 31 non-teaching positions that made up the equivalent of 5.5 full-time jobs, primarily in secretarial and custodial positions. A total of 15 positions were layoffs, including 10 at the district office.

“Our district’s most significant impacts were at the district office, with affected staff representing a total of 42% of the layoffs and reduced FTE, including 14 supervisory positions, said CFO Ashley Murphy, who issued the press release.

Through reorganization, the administration will shift from three assistant superintendents to two, among other changes.

Restructuring teaching staff

The school board in its March budget resolution pledged to keep impacts of the cuts away from classrooms as much as possible. While reductions were primarily among “classified” school support staff like secretaries, custodians and paraeducators, the teaching staff was not spared.

Friday’s press release and an accompanying list of positions cut showed that the district is “restructuring” its certificated (teaching) staff, eliminating 15.4 certificated positions but without any layoffs. Individuals in those positions will be offered teaching jobs as vacancies open up through retirements and reassignments, Murphy said.

The positions of five deans will be eliminated at elementary schools with fewer than 425 students. The remaining five elementary dean positions (at schools with more than 425 students) will be reposted as deputy principals.

Two dean positions will be cut from the high schools.

Five instructional facilitator positions will be cut from the district office. And three or four teaching positions at the Global Virtual Academy will go away.

Global Virtual Academy ending

The K-12 Global Virtual Academy, which blossomed during the pandemic, will not be offered in the 2023-24 school year because enrollment has declined by 70% since 2021.

“We understand there will be an ongoing need to support students who need credit recovery, and there is strong interest in having some form of acceleration opportunity for students,” Murphy said. “We will be working with stakeholders on how these two interests can be accommodated within our two comprehensive high schools and at Henderson Bay High School.”

A leaner administration

Positions cut or trimmed at the district office come from two categories of non-union employees.

Among “non-represented support staff,” positions eliminated through attrition or layoffs include: the aquatics manager, the radio station manager, an executive assistant to the chief financial officer and a transportation specialist (a cut that will impact the transportation department, not the district office).

The second category includes managers, directors, executive directors and assistant superintendents, most of whom make well more than $100,000 per year.

Administrative positions cut include:

  • Director of Communications
  • Assistant Director of HR
  • Capital Projects Coordinator
  • Executive Director of Learning and Innovation
  • Communications Coordinator
  • Executive Director of Career and Technical Education
  • Assistant Superintendent of Student Support and HR

The last two positions will be restructured. The CTE director will become a CTE coordinator (a lower paid position). The Assistant Superintendent of Student Support and HR will become a Chief Academic Officer.

That leaves the district with an assistant superintendent of elementary education and an assistant superintendent of secondary education, in addition to the CFO, as top administrators under the superintendent.

“District and union representatives worked collaboratively to make difficult but necessary decisions while making the least impact on students,” Murphy said in a letter to all staff Friday. “We thank you for your patience and understanding throughout this process.”