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Kent school board blasted for plan to cut 127 teachers

Families are fuming over a plan to eliminate 127 teachers from the school district. The cuts are projected to save $18 million, but the fear is that it will be students who pay the price. (Photo: KOMO News)

KENT, Wash. – Families are fuming over a plan to eliminate 127 teachers from the school district. The cuts are projected to save $18 million, but the fear is that it will be students who pay the price.

On Wednesday night, students and parents showed up in droves to the Kent School Board meeting to try and turn their anger into action.

“It disappoints me that you would come to this decision to cut 127 teachers and administration,” said Renee Smith, a veteran teacher at Mattson Middle School.

These sweeping teacher cuts are expected to result in more crowded classrooms and the possible elimination of many elective classes. Those impacts to students are what drove many of the public comments.

“I just wish there was a way for the district to be more transparent about what's going on when they make decisions like this," said Zuheera Ali, a senior at Kent-Meridian High School.

Another criticism is that the staff reductions came with almost no input from the school community. The district has struggled with ongoing budget issues over the years. People who took to the podium said it’s hard not to see it as a sign of fiscal mismanagement by district leadership.

“We've recently passed not one but two levies. The second levy, to my understanding, was to keep teachers on,” said Brianna Kamran, a senior at Kent-Meridian High. “So with the recent outcome that a large number of staff will be laid off, I'm just wondering where is the levy money going?"

The teacher layoffs are set to take effect this summer. In addition, nine administrator positions will also be eliminated.

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