In wake of teacher strike, Tacoma schools cutting several administrative positions

    Tacoma School District Building

    TACOMA, Wash. -- Tacoma teachers say they are getting just what they wanted when they went out on strike.

    They got their pay raises and now the school district is cutting several administrators to save money.

    For several days, Tacoma teachers marched around the school district headquarters calling for pay raises. They say the increases were promised under the State Supreme Court's McCleary Decision. The teachers surrounded the building not only to get the school board to hear their call, but also to say if you're going to make cuts, make them inside the headquarters.

    Now the school board says it is eliminating 19 administrative positions along with other spending cuts for a total savings of $16 million.

    "That's what we wanted to happen," said teachers' union president Angel Morton. "So we're excited about this. We're excited that the district is taking this opportunity to look at getting themselves a little streamlined."

    Five of the administrators have found openings back in the schools. Five other positions were already empty. So a total of nine people are out of work.

    "Obviously we're not happy when people's jobs end," said Morton. "But the district has done a good job of matching people with new positions."

    The district says the work these administrators did is going to be missed.

    Dan Voelpel of Tacoma School District said they "supported the principals, supported the teacher programs, training programs that won't be done with the dedication that we saw from the people in those positions."

    The cuts aren't over. The district says it still needs to shave $7.5 million from this year's budget and more spending cuts will be needed in the next school year.

    "We would be looking throughout the district for spending cuts next school in addition to classroom positions," said Voelpel.

    Morton said, "Well we'll have to keep an eye on that because the schools run pretty lean as it is."

    The strike lasted seven days which will be made up in the winter and spring breaks along with snow days.

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