Camas School District: Hayes Freedom High School Not Closing

Hayes Freedom

Camas, WA — In response to social media posts about local teachers, parents and supporters rallying to save Hayes Freedom School from the chopping block, Camas School District (CSD) Superintendent, Dr. John Anzalone, issued a clarifying statement Wednesday afternoon to parents. 

The Camas Education Association (CEA), the local teacher’s union, rallied supporters beginning Tuesday night to meet at next Monday’s CSD School Board meeting to express their support of Hayes and the work they do there. They had received credible information that closing Hayes was part of a broader cost cutting measure to save the district $6 million.

“I was able to get more information and the proposal was to move Hayes and merge it with Discovery, not ‘close’ the program,” said Marci Zabel, CEA President. “While I understand that is good for business, that would not be good for the population of students served at Hayes Freedom HS. No decision has been made as of yet, it is an option they are considering. We will continue to push our members and community members to urge the CSD School Board to keep HFHS where it is and come up with another solution that does not have such a negative impact on students.”  

In today’s statement, Anzalone said the following:

“We are aware of posts and comments on social media implying that Hayes Freedom High School will be closed due to impending budget cuts. This information is false, and I’d like to clarify our process and outline our budget development timeline. 

“We mentioned in our communication on February 1, 2023, that our leadership team is examining ways to reduce our budget by a target of $6 million, representing 5% of our budget. One of many options under consideration is looking for ways to share staffing among our smaller, choice high schools: Camas Connect Academy, Discovery High School, and Hayes Freedom High School. I want our community to know that we will not eliminate any of our high schools during this arduous budget process, and Hayes Freedom High School will not be relocated. 

“Our exploration and planning, which are still in development, will include reductions at the central office, building administration, classified staff, and certificated staff. In order to minimize impacts on students, we will first focus reductions on district office personnel and building administration.

“As we continue to examine possible areas for reductions, these principles will help guide decisions, including reducing staff positions and programs. Each principle is just one lens; we acknowledge that some may create tension when put up against others.

  • We will continue to use Seeing and Serving EACH Student as a guide and filter.
  • We will reduce or delay non-employee-related costs first.
  • For each reduction, we will consider the impact on students, particularly those with the highest needs.
  • Whenever possible, we will use attrition and consider not filling vacant positions.
  • We will look at our current initiatives and consider which are having the most impact on learning.
  • We will consider reductions that create closer alignment with the state’s prototypical school funding model.
  • We will focus on additional operational efficiencies and consider what the impacts would be.”

The following represents a general budget and staffing timeline, said Anzalone:

  • Late February to early March – Possible board resolution to reduce the budget by $6M. There would be no specificity regarding how the reductions are made. This is the formal first step in the budget reduction process.
  • Mid-March – First round of staffing cuts announced
  • End of March – Target date to notify all impacted staff
  • May 15 – Contractual deadline to notify impacted certificated staff
  • June 1 – Contractual deadline to notify impacted classified staff
This is the graphic used in social media posts to support Hayes Freedom.

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