The decision came three weeks into the school year.
The decision came three weeks into the school year. SEATTLE MUNICIPAL ARCHIVES

Seattle Public Schools began cutting teacher positions this week, three weeks after school began on Sept. 5. Parents, students, and teachers are outraged. Currently, the teachers at Garfield High School are staging a work stoppage.

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At 10:15 a.m. today, GHS teachers and students filed into the gym. They plan to stay there all day.

Last week, principals at Seattle Public Schools were notified that they would have to make some staffing changes. According to a letter sent by the district, enrollment projections for this school year were too high and 775 fewer students enrolled than expected.

Student enrollment and attendance are married with the funding the district receives. Because of this oversight, SPS is experiencing a $7.5 million revenue reduction. They're making up that lost revenue by cutting jobs. It's an issue impacting students of all ages.

Adriana Miner has two daughters at View Ridge Elementary School. Her oldest daughter's second-grade teacher, Victoria Ang, found out she would be displaced last week. Her last day is today.

View Ridge was only 21 students below the projected enrollment number, according to Miner. Yet, they're still on the chopping block. One teacher would have to be displaced.

"The whole challenge with the situation and what I take issue with is why this has come in so late," Miner said. "Kids have already built bonds—I can't tell you how much my daughter loves Miss Ang. It’s very difficult for children, especially in primary school."

Earlier this week, students at Nova High School staged a walkout and occupied City Hall because two of their teachers were getting cut—or, as SPS puts it in that letter, "displaced." Nova is an alternative school with only 20 teachers. Cutting two of their specially trained teachers reduces their teaching staff by 15 percent.

Ten of the teachers displaced across SPS are from high schools. Half of the cuts are coming from service model schools like Nova. Schools like Interagency and World School teach students who were pushed out by traditional school models or, like the case of the World School, are made up of mostly English-learners.

This happened quickly, with minimal notice. Principals were notified on Sept. 17 that the district would be making staff adjustment decisions. They received those decisions (if staff would be cut and if so, how many) on Sept. 19. The teachers affected, according to the letter, will either take a job in their field at another school or be assigned as substitutes in the same school until a permanent position become available.

The whole process has piqued suspicions for many especially because of the district's reasoning behind the incorrect enrollment projections.

"They’re saying it’s the cost of living in Seattle and wages earned," Miner said. "That sounds to me like all factors that you knew going on for the last 10 years. If there’s a correlation between cost of living and enrollment you should’ve known that better. To me it sounds like really poor management, data, and ultimately making a decision that impacts students."

All of this is why GHS teachers are refusing to work today. The story is still unfolding. We'll update this post as we learn more information.