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Administration position among personnel cuts at Oak Harbor School District

In a cost-saving move, Oak Harbor school officials took advantage of a resignation to eliminate an administrator position in the face of continued funding reductions from the state and federal government.

Oak Harbor School District officials named Kurt Schonberg as the new director of human resources; his former position as director of teaching and learning has been eliminated. That cut saved the school district approximately $100,000 a year.

Schonberg replaces Mellody Matthes, who resigned to become assistant superintendent of the Tukwila School District.

Eliminating the learning director position is the latest position school officials had to cut to help balance the district’s $48 million budget for the 2010-2011 school year.

School officials also eliminated eight teaching positions, two librarian positions and two counseling positions. Rick Schulte, superintendent of the Oak Harbor School District, said nobody was laid off. Attrition, either through resignation or retirement, accounted for the eliminated positions.

He said the school district is seeing a $600,000 reduction in federal Impact Aid dollars and a $2.5-million reduction in Initiative 728 dollars.

On the positive side, student enrollment, which drives basic education funding, is expected to climb by the equivalent of 75 full-time students. The school district is expecting 5,225 students will attend classes starting in September.

Eliminating the teaching and learning director position stems from a budget committee recommendation that came out earlier in the year. Schulte said the committee suggested staff examine ways to cut administration positions. He decided that the human resources position was more critical after consulting with building principals and school unions.

Schulte, Schonberg and Assistant Superintendent Lance Gibbon will pick up the duties of the learning director position. Schulte said an additional employee may have to be hired when the students take state-mandated tests in the spring. Coordinating the WASL has been a full-time job for several weeks in the spring.

Schulte noted during Tuesday’s school board meeting that the district has eliminated other administrative positions recently. Two years ago, the custodial supervisor position was cut. Mitch Romero, the school district’s construction manager, recently left and was replaced by Gary Goltz on a half-time basis. He will oversee the transformation of the high school’s former C and D wings into maintenance space.

Schulte said staff will look at changing or combining administrative positions when a vacancy arises.

Community Events, April 2014

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