To keep their budget under control, the Winlock School District has decided to terminate the position held by Elementary School Principal Jim Swan and will allow Superintendent Shannon Criss to officiate the position next school year.
Criss said the decision is not a reflection of Swan’s performance but rather a solution to budgetary shortfalls that have also led to the elimination of nine teaching positions. She said, based on her qualifications to serve as acting principal, it was a fiscally responsible choice to take over Swan’s responsibilities and allow his contract to expire.
The Winlock School District has been hit hard by decreases in enrollment and state funding, having experienced a 7.8% enrollment shortfall below projections in September of last year. Criss added, because legislators in Olympia have still not approved a budget for the next school year, district officials are being forced to plan as conservatively as possible in expectation of a continued lack of funding.
At the same time, administrators are attempting to retain as many course offerings as possible, with the Winlock School Board voting May 15 to only eliminate a high school Business Graphics class, due to low enrollment, and a high school Introduction to Computers class, because the same course is taught at the Middle School.
Criss also said the list of teaching positions to be eliminated is not yet definite because, though nine teachers were given notice by May 15, other teachers are resigning as well, allowing for possible openings to balance out the cuts.
But she said nothing will be certain until lawmakers passes a budget for the coming school year, which may not be until the end of July at a time when, Criss said, it will be too late to correct overly-conservative financial decisions.