Kent School District announces reductions, reorganization

The Kent School District (KSD) this week announced that it will be reducing staff and reorganizing, affecting eight of Kent’s 42 schools, and representing a total net annual savings of nearly $750,000.

“These reductions and reassignments were not issues of personnel performance, rather these changes are just one of the strategies implemented by KSD leadership and the school board in the last year as part of the budget recovery plan,” the district said.

Here’s more from KS’s announcement:

The school-based administrator changes impact eight of Kent’s 42 schools and represent a total net annual savings of nearly $750,000. On Wednesday, February 28, the Board of Directors approved the reduction of nine school-based administrative positions at the end of this school year. On March 9, all KSD schools received their staffing allocations for the 2018-19 school year; yesterday, KSD Leadership met with all principals to discuss the additional reductions in force impacting school-based staffing. For the 2018-19 school year, KSD will reduce 127 FTE—approximately 7.9% of staff in the district—funded out of Basic Education due to increased ratios and decreased dependence on BEA for non-classroom positions.

“To make these tough decisions, we looked at the entire KSD system. When considering school-based administrators and staff, we looked closely at several factors at the school level including enrollment, program needs, student needs, and the unique needs of each school community,” said Superintendent, Dr. Calvin J. Watts.

The only way to decrease workforce costs in a sustainable form is to reduce the number of FTE. To control compensation costs, all reductions, reassignments, and compensation controls have been made in an effort to make KSD financially solvent. Like all districts in Washington State, in KSD the workforce represents 85% of the district’s budget. Reductions in force at the district began in February at the central administration office, when 45 administration center positions were eliminated—a 16% reduction—for the 2018-19 school year, representing a net savings of approximately $4 million. In total, these combined efforts represent a net savings of approximately $18 million and set Kent School District on the trajectory not only to end August 2018 with a positive year-end fund balance, but also to set KSD on a path for restored fiscal health for years to come.

Recently, KSD leadership shared with staff the new organizational structure, KSD 2.0, which goes into effect July 1, 2018.

Last school year, KSD launched the district’s new strategic plan, “Blueprint: Leaning Forward Together 2016-2021.” This Blueprint sets forth a shared vision that is purposeful and directed toward setting higher standards for both KSD students and staff, always driven by values of equity and excellence. Just as important as setting the direction, the Blueprint holds the district accountable to measurable goals that will drive student success now and in the future.

Four strategic goals drive the district’s work and focus efforts toward accomplishing the mission and vision for all students. This includes the organization, structure, and scope of the KSD workforce. Moving forward, the KSD organizational structure will be “leaner and not meaner” beginning with leadership at the highest level.

“Beyond the fiscal savings of having fewer chief officers in the organization, this new structure ensures that, for each goal in our strategic plan, the objectives, implementation strategies, and continuous evaluation of key indicators that measure our performance are being closely managed and monitored, and have strong central leadership,” said Superintendent, Dr. Calvin J. Watts. “I am confident that, through collaboration, open and transparent two-way communication, and our shared commitment to successfully preparing all students for their futures, together we will be successful in the implementation of KSD 2.0.”