Art, music take a hit in Coupeville

Art and music instruction might seem a bit less thorough next school year at Coupeville Elementary School.

As part of budget cutbacks, school officials are planning to offer only a half-time art teacher and a half-time music teacher at the elementary school.

But the cut might look worse than the pain it produces.

Superintendent Patty Page pointed out that the school district didn’t cut people and the music teacher and art teacher will fill the remainder of their days teaching regular classes.

In addition, Page said the two teachers currently don’t spend the entire day teaching art and music, and already fill their days with other job duties.

“It sounds like more than there actually is,” Page said.

Officials are trying to cut $650,000 from the district’s $10 million budget.

Teacher layoffs were announced in April, but now it looks like the reductions will be made up through employee attrition and additional Learning Assistance Plan dollars, Page said. She added there will still be three or four classified support positions cut.

Also, the administrative special education director position saw a reduction of three-tenths of a position for the 2009-2010 budget. There are currently five administrative positions in the Coupeville School District, Page said. She added that administrative staffing has been reduced by 23 percent in recent years.

“That’s the largest reduction by any three of the classifications,” Page said.

The shortfall is caused by continued drops in enrollment and funding cuts from the state. Officials are projecting the equivalent of 987 full-time students enrolled in the 2009-2010 school year. In 2005-2006, 1,114 students were enrolled. The school district is also seeing a $370,000 loss in I-728 revenue.

School officials are aiming to have around $200,000 available in reserve to brace for further cuts that will probably happen next year.

The Coupeville School District has a July 31 deadline to approve a balanced budget.

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