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News / Clark County News

Evergreen district to cut 475 classified positions due to budget cuts

By Katie Gillespie, Columbian Education Reporter
Published: August 25, 2020, 6:12pm

Evergreen Public Schools will furlough 475 classified staff due to anticipated hits to the district’s budget and the district’s decision to open remotely for the fall.

The furloughs will affect paraeducators, professional technicians, maintenance workers, transportation workers and other nonteaching staff. School will start remotely Sept. 1 due to continued concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Those affected provide direct services to students on campus, and therefore aren’t needed when school starts remotely, district spokeswoman Gail Spolar said. Employees on furlough will keep their health benefits and will be brought back as small groups of students begin to return to the classroom.

“I feel awful,” Superintendent Mike Merlino said at a school board meeting Tuesday. “Today’s a terrible day.”

The layoffs will affect those staff represented by the Public Service Employees Large Group, a unit of the Service Employees International Union 1948. That union represents about 1,115 staff members, many of whom work part time.

Evergreen Public Schools is Clark County’s largest district with about 25,000 students. It and all other school districts will begin classes next week remotely. Public health data suggests it remains a moderate risk for schools to open.

The district also faces unprecedented budget challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, including expected declines in enrollment, hits to food service funding because families aren’t buying as many meals and a decline in transportation funding due to decreased ridership.

“We have a significant concern with respect to revenue,” Merlino said.

Columbian Education Reporter