The Moses Lake School District is making another round of layoffs as it deals with a severe budget shortfall. 

The district announced late Tuesday that 55 classified employees are being laid off. Classified employees include custodians, maintenance workers, paraeducators, secretaries and IT staff.  

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It's the fifth round of layoffs since May. The Moses Lake district has been trying to shore up a more than $20 million budget shortfall. 

The district says the latest notification brings the total reduction in staff to 268 employees 

The Wenatchee School District has been dealing with a budget shortfall of about $9 million. The Wenatchee district cut positions and closed one elementary school. Moses Lake has not permanently shut down a school yet. 

The biggest expense in both districts' budgets is employee compensation. The Moses Lake district says it has to make substantial staffing reductions because more than 80% of its budget is allocated to employee compensation. 

In a release, the district said classified employees who have been laid off may be recalled in the future, depending on the district’s evolving financial situation. 

But the district noted that it still needs to cut an additional $3.6 million to balance the budget moving forward. 

The final budget is due to the Moses Lake School Board for approval in August. If the district fails to come up with a balanced budget by then, it will automatically enter binding conditions with the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The district says the result would be less local control of district operations. 

Moses Lake Interim School Superintendent Carol Lewis acknowledged the pain caused by the ongoing layoffs in the release. “We deeply regret the necessity of these reductions and are fully aware of the hardship they impose on our dedicated staff and their families,” Lewis said. 

In addition to the latest round of 55 job cuts, the district has made the following employee reductions since May: 

  • District Office: 12.5 positions, resulting in savings of $1,134,383. More positions will likely be reduced through attrition in the coming months. 
  • Building Administrators: 4.5 positions, resulting in savings of $730,307. 
  • MLEA (Moses Lake Education Association): Initially 119 positions, 11 non-renewal notices for special education teachers and school counselors have been recently rescinded, reducing the total to 108 positions and a savings of $10,812,662. 
  • PSE (Public School Employees): 143 positions, resulting in savings of $7,121,307. 

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