Coupeville teachers face layoffs

The ranks of Coupeville School District teachers will dwindle if the worst-case budget scenario proves true.

The district could be cutting three elementary school teaching positions, one elementary counseling position and an elementary school special education teaching position. In addition, an occupational therapist and a school psychologist will lose hours.

On the administration side, the director of student services position will also see a reduction in hours.

The list comes before the district has complete information for planning its budget. School officials are waiting for the Legislature to approve the final state budget this weekend.

“We have to proceed with what we think is the deepest cut,” Business Manager Janet Fisher said Tuesday morning. She said officials announced the potential layoffs now to comply with the union contract.

She said the most the school district would have to cut is $650,000 from its approximately $10 million budget. That $650,000 is closer to the Senate version of the state budget. If the budget comes in closer to the House’s version, then that amount would fall to $500,000.

“We really hope they finish Sunday,” Fisher said.

Continued years of declining enrollment, coupled with the state’s huge budget shortfall, are the primary reasons for the budget gap.

The situation is worse elsewhere on the island. The South Whidbey School District announced last week it could layoff as many as 37 employees, including 18 certificated staff. School officials are expecting 139 fewer students next year on South Whidbey.

Oak Harbor won’t be making any staff cuts next year after a couple of years of budget-trimming moves.

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