Community ed slashed in Coupeville

Over the past several years, fewer and fewer adults have been participating in the Coupeville School District’s community education program.

With the falling participation and the recent budget problems the school district is experiencing, officials have decided to slash the program coordinator’s hours.

That cut prompts some to question whether there will still be a program in the fall.

Sylvia Arnold, who runs a youth cheerleading program in Coupeville, said that the loss of the community education program will hurt her enterprise, which attracts scores of kids in the fall and spring. They were visible Saturday cheerfully marching in Coupeville’s Memorial Day Parade.

“For myself, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Arnold said, adding that the program, which is taught by high school cheerleaders, provides the participating kids with positive role models.

“It was a lot of fun for big girls to work out with little girls,” Arnold said of the cheerleading program.

Superintendent Patty Page said the program was reduced primarily because there were fewer adults participating. She complimented Cheryl Torres’ work coordinating the classes offered by the program.

The school board cut Torres’ time on the community education program to only five hours a week. That’s down from the four hours daily. Also, some of her additional duties were transferred to other staff.

Torres was disappointed when she learned of the cutback last week. She said adults have stopped signing up for classes because there is a larger selection of activities available either through other schools, the Internet or from local health clubs.

Even though the number of adults participating in the community education program is declining, Torres said the junior cheer program has been very successful.

The move is part of $394,000 worth of cuts school officials are making to balance the district’s $10 million budget. Other cuts include eliminating two teaching positions through attrition, reducing the curriculum adoption budget and the technology budget.

Despite the latest reduction, Page said the school district is looking to continue supporting the programs still offered by community education. In addition to the junior cheerleaders, the “Wolf Buddy” program and an adult exercise class are operated through the community education program.

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