Letters to the Editor

Administrators to be reduced

By turning quotes into headlines on your front page (News-Times, May 14), it’s clear the newspaper is more interested in creating news than reporting it. By definition, a quote standing alone has no context, so it is immediately misleading for anyone who reads the headline but not the story.

For the record, the Oak Harbor School District has a budget plan that includes a reduction in administration and administrators. Those decisions are still pending due to different variables and possible scenarios. Monday’s action to eliminate positions was solely about the Public School Employees (PSE) union in order to comply with contract language and provide enough time for more senior employees to bid into new jobs.

Administrators have no contracts or seniority rights, so a four-month lead time is not necessary.

When looking at the last two years, the school district’s budget will have undergone a 9.7 percent overall reduction, due mostly to a decline in enrollment, increased employee costs, and rising utility and diesel costs. This means that over a two-year period teaching and teaching support (including technology and instructional assistants) is being reduced by 8.4 percent; administration by 10.8 percent; and maintenance, grounds, and custodial by about 22 percent.

It’s also important to understand this is not a local problem. This stems mostly from unfunded costs passed onto school districts everywhere by the state legislature. The problem is compounded by districts with declining enrollment. Coupeville, Anacortes, and South Whidbey are all struggling with similar funding issues.

Vicki Williams

Budget Director

Mellody Matthes

Human Resources Director

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