South Kitsap schools considering rehiring teachers after boost in funding

PORT ORCHARD — It’s an ongoing battle to save educators in one local town that saw a 10% reduction of its teaching force in May.

classroomSouth Kitsap schools got millions of dollars in extra funds from the state so the question is, will the district restore those teaching jobs?

The district is getting closer to making a final decision. The answer will most likely frustrate a lot of students and parents at South Kitsap High.

With more than 2,100 students attending South Kitsap High, students protested the teacher cuts throughout the summer.

“We had a number of South Kitsap students who took the democratic process seriously I want to applaud that,” said superintendent Michelle Reid.

Although Superintendent Michelle Reid empathizes, the decision will ultimately boil down to classroom sizes. As of Wednesday, the largest classroom count at South Kitsap was 33.

“If the number goes up we will have to put some people back in there because we want it to be a good experience for kids,” said Reid.

But as it stands for now Reid says it does not appear the high school and any of the elementary schools are in need of more teachers.

“Our elementary classrooms are well below 30,” said Reid.

But many parents say classroom sizes are still too large despite decreasing enrollment.

“I think they are quite large, I would say we need those teachers,” said parent Brittany Anderson.

Anderson says an ideal class would have no more than 25 students.

“They would be able to do more one on one and those one or two kids wouldn’t slip through the cracks especially in the high school because they don’t get the attention they need and get lost,” said Anderson.

“The language, math, social studies like that where kids need more focus it would be better for smaller class sizes,” said parent Monique Terry.

The district says they are considering rehiring teachers for the junior high schools. Take for example Cedar Heights Junior High. It is dealing with overcrowding with several classes packed with up to 40 students.

“It is frustrating you would think these teachers would be saved and to now know they might not it is like they are making excuses,” said Terry.

South Kitsap High does not have its final enrollment numbers so if class sizes go up the district says they will weigh that in their final decision expected in August.

The school system cut 68 full time positions. Out of 58 teachers who lost their jobs, 41 of them have been rehired due to other teachers retiring.

The Legislature recently passed an additional $1 billion for education. South Kitsap’s piece of the pie is $4.5 million.

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