The Hoquiam School District will be furloughing over 70 employees as they begin the new school year in an all-virtual environment.

The school board was reluctant to adopt the resolution during their regular meeting, the memo to staff from District Superintendent Mike Villareal begins, “It’s with a heavy heart that I’m recommending the District furlough some talented classified employees in response to starting the 2020-2021 school year remotely.”

“It’s 58 furloughed, touching up to 71 individuals base cutoff hours.” He told the board last night, “The heavy heart thing is real. I know that our team has worked really really hard. First of all, when we thought we might be coming back we know that systems and programs would be running the same. The decision to move to a hybrid that meant that we recognize that we’d probably have a lot of the same folks we’d be bussing kids back and forth. But I also knew that weighted in my mind was that when we moved to a virtual instructional model it would impact everybody but it would impact especially our classified personnel differently.”

Distance learning, along with a decrease in revenue and student enrollment are the reasons for the move, which Villareal added could be reversed, “We anticipate that we will be coming back. We anticipate that we’ll be phasing in. At that time then we will be looking at positions again and what’s the best way to bring people back in and it requires following PSE guidelines with regards to seniority, hours, and work.”

The resolution adopted last night reduces the educational program by 71 non-supervisory classified employees.

While I didn’t have time to include all of Mike’s comments in my story, please find the complete discussion in the audio file below recorded from last night. The audio begins with the introduction of the resolution and ends with its adoption.