Shelley Houle, President of the Camas Education Association (CEA) answered several questions about the upcoming Camas School District (CSD) layoffs.
22 FTE positions are being eliminated. Have all 22 teachers been notified?
As Superintendent Jeff Snell said it looks like most of those layoffs will be taken care of through attrition. Nobody has been contacted about being laid off, which happens on May 15. Human Resources has those details.
How will these layoffs affect the classroom?
It’s still a loss of FTE so I do fear it will impact students when we have less teachers overall. Classroom size could be impacted, but it will still be below what our cap is. It’ll depend on enrollment.
Did the budget committee make enough non-teacher cuts?
I was only there for half of the budget committee meetings. What we discussed is there shouldn’t be cuts in just one place. There was a shared vision that this would be done equally. I had two other members from CEA that were there, Jenelee Hurz (Math TOSA) and Miranda Jarrell (teacher at Dorothy Fox). We weren’t there to represent any special school or class type, we were there to be part of it, to listen and learn and to advocate for our members, and to advocate against impacts that affect children. We weren’t there to save particular jobs, and we had a student-focused approach to it. We spent many hours in with the committee, and I feel like we were well represented.
I’m disappointed that we don’t know the impact to SB5313 (bill that increases school levy lid) yet. I would loved to have pushed the pause button and see the impact of that levy lid. The May 15 date affected our decisions. Maybe some cuts will be reversed when we get more money from the levy lid.
What happens with the levy lid in 2020? Will that help CSD?
That’s where the SB5313 could increase the capacity to collect what is already approved. I think we’re all waiting to see what that means. I predict there’s the potential to collect $6 million more dollars, but we have to be careful about what we ask our constituents to do. CSD has some hard decisions to make. We hope we can the reverse the cuts to be able to increase FTE in areas where we feel some negative impact from loss of teachers.
CSD is waiting for direction from OSPI.
Is Camas above the prototypical model?
Yes, because we use levy money because we do more than the state funds.
Did CEA ask for too much in raises last year?
No, it’s what our teachers deserved — a professional wage. If we go all the way back to August, we assumed layoffs would happen. This is because we go above and beyond the prototypical model. We want all of our members to stay and earn the wage for the work that they do.
Editor’s Note: This is what CEA Lead Negotiator, Mark Gardner said on September 3, 2018 regarding layoffs: https://youtu.be/Lu4DGMN5rl He didn’t think there would be layoffs but was concerned CSD was above a sustainable teaching staffing level.
Houle continues: The state really pulled a big one by changing the funding model. It really created a challenge for everyone to figure out how to best make it work. We would have loved an increase in special ed funding. You’re not fully funding education if you don’t fully fund special education. Jeff and I had shared Legislative priorities — funding for safety positions like counselors and nurses.
It was interesting going up there. I think progress was made in several of the bills. Delinking 10th graders passing the state tests was a good thing. They didn’t make complete fixes, though. Some needed changes were made like SB5313 with the levy flexibility will help many districts.
The number of 22 layoffs was not surprising to me because we did need to stay close to prototypical.
We’re all in this together. I feel that PSE (classified staff), CAEOP, and CAP (Gary Moller) are all part of this. We have a shared vision in that we wanted our students to be minimally impacted by those decisions.