75 new full-time positions for Bethel
Bethel’s 2019/20 budget includes more funding for more staff — specifically, 67.4 certificated Full Time Equivalency (FTE) positions and 7.745 classified FTE positions. If you break those numbers down, you’ll find 53.8 FTE Basic Education Teachers, 6.6 FTE Special Education Teachers, and 2.0 FTE Maintenance Personnel, among others.
The growing staff in Bethel reflects the growing population in our community. Bethel was already the 8th largest public employer in Pierce County, with more people on staff than the Post Office. With these new additions, the district could climb even closer to the top of that list.
According to demographers, there’s no end in sight for growth in our area. Forecasters are predicting there will be 400 new housing units per year in the district for the next 20 years. That means the number of staff will continue to grow alongside the incoming number of new students.
This school year, Bethel will also focus new spending to support Goal 4 of the district’s Strategic Plan, “Equitable Opportunities for All Students.”
Chief Financial Officer Billy Wessell’s 2019/20 Budget presentation included nearly 30 new expenditures, including new staff and new curriculum, that will make big strides towards the district’s goal.
The money — which comes from the district’s General Fund — will pay for more social workers, a new physical therapist, a special education van with a wheelchair lift, and the expansion of middle school math studio classrooms, to name just a few.
During the public comment portion of the 2019/20 budget presentation, questions were raised regarding some of the items included in the new spending, specifically some of the curriculum. School Board president Brenda Rogers responded that while some curriculum, like the new K-8 Social Emotional Learning curriculum, had already been approved by the Board, others that are budgeted for haven’t been selected yet.