Marysville school layoffs may not be over as district faces $18M budget shortfall

MARYSVILLE, Wash. — Layoff notices have started going out to 45 teachers in the Marysville School District.

It’s more bad news for teachers and their students as school districts around the state grapple with budgets that are millions of dollars in the red.

One teacher says she and her colleagues question whether the layoffs are truly necessary. She has been teaching at Liberty Elementary School for four years.

She says she already has too many kids in her classroom, and this news won’t make that any better next year.

Carolyn Alben’s face lights up when asked about her love for teaching.

“I do love to teach,” said Alben, smiling. “I love to teach math.  All of my students know math is my favorite subject to teach.”

And she believes school officials might need to brush up on their own math skills.

“We’re hurting more because of our double levy failure last year,” said Alben. “But I know a lot of my colleagues have questions about how the district chooses to spend their money. That maybe we’re not going to be in overload next year.”

“They are already have larger than normal class sizes after COVID and everybody returning,” said parent Ashley Levin.

She is upset, too.

“My son is neuro-divergent,” said Levin. “And he takes a little bit of extra attention needs. And he has a couple in the classroom like that. And it’s really hard.”

Marysville officials say they must make up an $18 million shortfall to balance the books for the next school year.

Last year’s levy failures mean the district will go one year without that money.

Plus, the end of federal COVID funding, inadequate state funding and declining enrollments have conspired to leave a big hole.

“And I don’t think the school should be at fault for that,” said parent Michelle Ullmann. “I think they’re doing the best that they can.”

Ullmann says she doesn’t blame the district.

“They’ve helped my children,” she said, “and they’ve helped me.”

Thirty-five teachers were laid off last year. So, this latest round means 80 teachers have lost their jobs in Marysville in the last two years because of a budget shortfall.

And the layoffs may not be over.  Employees in other departments could lose their jobs, too.