Coupeville struggles with fewer students

Enrollment is still down in the Coupeville School District by the equivalent of 37.65 full-time students.

Officials had budgeted the equivalent of 1,087 full-time students, however, the current enrollment stands at 1,049.35.

Superintendent Patty Page said the enrollment decline will have a greater effect next year as opposed to this year. She said staff noticed that several families were moving away from the district and it was decided not to fill a vacant teaching position. In addition, the school district also saw some extra money come in from I-728 and the district funded some teaching positions from that extra money. She said the school district also set some money aside in this year’s budget in case it had to go into arbitration with one of its unions, however, the union and school district came to an agreement on a new contract.

Page said there will absolutely be a shortfall in next year’s budget. How much that shortfall will be isn’t known yet. She said the state Legislature has to complete its session and the school district has to develop enrollment projections. That information won’t be available until later in the school year.

The enrollment in the Coupeville School District has declined in recent years from a high in 2005-2006 of 1,114.5 students to its current level.

Page told the school board she isn’t sure what is causing the enrollment decline. She suggested it could stem from the job situation on Whidbey Island and high housing costs. Those conditions make it difficult for younger families to move into the school district. She said the enrollment numbers at the lower grades are where the enrollment drop is most noticeable.

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