Parents, students, teachers voice anger at Kent School District for planned layoffs

KENT, Wash. -- Parents, students and teachers packed a Kent School Board meeting Wednesday night to voice anger at the district's plan to cut nine administrator jobs and 127 staff positions.

In a marathon public comment session, person after person wanted to know why these cuts are happening just weeks after voters approved new levies to fund the district.

"I think if we knew ... you wouldn't have got your money," one parent said, alluding to the levies. "I feel like I've been had."

The Kent School District announced in a news release Tuesday that it is eliminating nine administrator jobs and 127 staff positions in the 2018-19 school year. It was not immediately clear what positions — ranging from teachers to secretaries to librarians — would be eliminated across the district’s 42 schools.

But the teachers' union said it believes as many as 130 of its members may lose their jobs.

“To make these tough decisions, we looked at the entire KSD system,” Superintendent Calvin J. Watts said in Tuesday's release. “We looked closely at several factors at the school level including enrollment, program needs, student needs, and the unique needs of each school community.”

The cuts are expected to save the district $18 million.