Hoquiam doesn’t plan any teacher layoffs

All Hoquiam School District teachers, except one who plans to retire, will be retained through next school year, according to a plan approved by the Hoquiam School District board at its special meeting early Monday morning.

Also approved at the meeting were next year’s school calendar and the hiring of Scott Hyder of Yelm as assistant principal of Hoquiam High School.

“We are not going to RIF, (issue reduction-in-force notices,)” said Superintendent Mike Parker, which means that no teachers in the district will be receiving a lay-off notice.

Parker told the board that the district is anticipating a lower student enrollment, so keeping all the teachers on board will require a dip into reserve funds. “If we were going to staff to our enrollment, we would probably have four less teachers,” Parker said. “We are going to put our money, arguably, where it counts and that’s in the classroom.”

Noting the dip into reserves, board member David Westby suggested that next year modifications may need to be made. Parker responded that the district has a number of people who have 30 years, and in one case more than 40 years, in the system. “We can do this for a year, but we won’t be able to keep at this level. But we think that through attrition next year it will take care of itself.”

The 2012-2013 school calendar was also approved, with school slated to start Sept. 4 and ending on June 14. Two make-up days for possible snow days were added into the calendar. The calendar was approved pending any modifications to be decided on at the next school board meeting on May 17. A public forum is scheduled for May 15 to discuss a possible early release/late start schedule for students in the district. The change was proposed to allow teachers 90 minutes to collaborate on teaching methods and make any necessary modifications to curriculum based on student data.

The board also approved the hiring of Hyder. “He was a fantastic candidate, eager to come to the Harbor and eager to become an assistant principal,” Parker said. He noted that Hyder ranked highest amongst the five people vying for the position, and a site visit to his current school yielded complimentary comments from teachers, administrators and students. The high school assistant principal position became vacant after current assistant principal Brock Maxfield was promoted to principal.