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Oak Harbor deals with enrollment decline

Oak Harbor School District is dealing with a projected revenue reduction due to an enrollment decline for the next school year.

Revenue projections show the school district will receive $41,870,746 in state funding next year. That amount is $473,000 less than what the school district budgeted for the current school year.

Superintendent Rick Schulte said the reduced funding could mean budget adjustments but he didn’t elaborate. More information will become available when expenditure projections are finished this week and presented at the next school board meeting.

Two major factors contribute to the decline in revenue — a drop in enrollment and uncertainty about Impact Aid.

The Oak Harbor School District is projecting 250 fewer students next year, but that figure will be offset to some extent.

Several factors will minimize the effect of the enrollment drop. Schulte said about half of the reduction consists of students attending home school programs in neighboring districts. Those programs will be transferred to their home district at the end of the year, with state financial support following.

He also pointed out that this year’s enrollment fell short of projections by approximately 60 students. After such factors are considered, officials will have to deal with only 50 to 60 fewer students next year.

The other issue officials have to deal with is Impact Aid, which is doled out to schools that are impacted by federal military bases.

While $5,450,000 is anticipated for next year, the amount often isn’t known until the money is in hand.

“We could get hundreds of thousands of dollars more or we could get hundreds of thousand of dollars less,” Schulte said.

You can reach News-Times reporter Nathan Whalen at nwhalen@whidbeynewstimes.com or 675-6611.

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