Nearly 70 jobs at risk under Mead School District budget cut proposal

Nearly 70 jobs at risk under Mead School District budget cut proposal

Layoff fears are spreading throughout the Mead School District which is facing a $12 million budget gap.

At a special meeting Wednesday night inside Northwood Middle School, the district’s assistant superintendent revealed possible cuts to school board members, and dozens of anxious teachers and staff.

Nearly 70 employees, ranging from coaches, custodians, teachers, and counselors could soon receive layoff notices.

The district is also exploring the option of cutting and closing several programs like the Riverpoint Academy STEM school, and the MEAD Alternative High School.

“We’re talking about taking kids out of alternative problems that would never get a high school diploma, had they not been given an opportunity like MEAD, it’s disgraceful what our legislature has done to this school district,” said Jodie Ash, a special education teacher with 35 years of experience.

The proposed cuts would slash more than $1.6 million from special education funding in the district.

“Our parents have got to get active and start contacting their government officials, because there’s no power in just the people that are being affected speaking up. Your children are under attack.”

Mead teachers negotiated a 16 percent pay raise in the fall, but the school district blames the funding issue on state legislatures, who voted to cap how much money school districts can collect from local levies following the McCleary decision. A move that’s costing Mead, a growing district with two new schools on the way, millions of dollars.

The district offered an early retirement bonus — 15 teachers have accepted the offer so far.

No final decisions were made during Wednesday’s meeting. The school board will take public comments at two seperate meetings: the regular board meeting scheduled for April 22, as well as at a special board meeting on April 24.

Catch up on the day’s news and look ahead to tomorrow by signing up for the Daily Local email newsletter from KXLY4. Headlines, events, and staff picks every weeknight at 8 p.m. Sign up HERE to get your news on the D.L.