Washougal, WA – Late last week, Washougal School District began notifying staff in certain positions that they were being placed in temporary layoff status starting on September 9, 2020.

Temporary layoff status is temporary leave from a work assignment. In temporary layoff status, employees maintain their benefits, such as healthcare, as long as they pay their portion of their premiums. In this status, employees may also apply for unemployment benefits.

“Our goal is to get students back to the classroom as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Mary Templeton, WSD Superintendent. “Many of the staff will be able to return to work as the district begins bringing back groups of students for in-person education. The decision to bring employees back from temporary layoff will be based on need and position.”  

“This very difficult decision was made to address budget challenges the district is facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Aaron Hansen, WSD Assistance Superintendent of Human Resources and Student Services. “School districts receive funding from the state based on enrollment numbers and bus ridership, both of which have declined.” Additionally, the district has additional unbudgeted expenses because of the COVID pandemic, including providing personal protective equipment, increased costs for postage and transporting classroom materials, and increased technology expenditures to support families in connecting to online coursework. 

Positions identified for temporary layoff make up 29.4 full time equivalent (FTE), or about 60 full and part time employees.

“The majority of these staff work in the district transportation department, but the list also includes library assistant, playground assistant, paraeducators and custodial staff members,” said Hansen. “Additional positions may be impacted as we work to align staffing with our enrollment.” 

Employees who are being laid off are provided with information about the change and resources to support them in accessing unemployment benefits, as well as guidance on maintaining their health care coverage. 

“If we all do our part to stay healthy and avoid the spread of COVID19 virus, we will all be together in our schools more quickly,” said Templeton. 

5 replies
  1. Jenny J Dayley
    Jenny J Dayley says:

    What about the grant money from CARES Act? Each district should have or will be getting some. That should cover PPE and delivering materials to kids. I wish the district would just open up already.

  2. sue conway
    sue conway says:

    I loved working for the Washougal School District and retired from teaching a few years ago. I was on several of the Negotiations Teams. I know the District has held onto a large cash reserve for a long time for “emergency issues.” Well, the times we are in now certainly qualify! The employees of our district were hired because they were considered and ARE the best. It is a time to honor them and retain them. Use those funds to keep everyone solid. We are talking about people, families and our community of Washougal. As a 25 plus year supporter and taxpayer of this District, do what is right. Keep everyone employed during this crisis, please.

  3. Devin Ochs
    Devin Ochs says:

    It’s not just custodial staff and drivers. We were just informed that our teacher is being removed and we will be connected to a different teacher less than 18 hours before swapping. If the district knew this was going to happen then why didn’t they do it BEFORE starting the school year?

  4. Bryna lane
    Bryna lane says:

    I don’t know if any of the employees furlough are working reduced hours. If the district applies for the Washington unemployment Sharedwork program, it will help out the employees.


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