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More students mean more staff for Coupeville schools

After cutbacks in state funding prompted staff layoffs, Coupeville school officials received a bit of good news when classes started.

An early count shows enrollment in Coupeville is higher than budgeted. The extra students mean more funding will come in from the state, which allows leaders to add staff and classes.

An early count shows the equivalent of 1,020.85 full-time students are attending school in Coupeville, which is 45 students higher than the 975 students officials budgeted.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that this will carry us through,” Superintendent Patty Page said during Monday’s Coupeville School Board meeting.

Page said enrollment will drop slightly in the coming months, increase early next year and then decline over the remaining months of the school year. The Coupeville School District received approximately $5,280 per student during the 2008-2009 school year.

The positive enrollment numbers mean another teacher will be hired at the elementary school. Page said the teachers in grades first through third got together and determined it was best to hire a new second-grade teacher.

“I’m really glad to hear teachers were involved in the discussion,” board member Cindy Van Dyk said during the meeting.

Page said it would be a couple of weeks before a new teacher is hired.

At the middle school, officials are able to add an additional math class. The high school will add a class to manage students independent study projects.

Page said current staff will teach the additional classes added at the middle and high school.

In addition to the teacher and extra classes, officials are also adding hours to a custodial position, restoring it to the full-time position.

Page noted the community helped getting school grounds ready before school started. She said 60 people showed up to clean the grounds and planted flora.

Last spring, declining enrollment and reductions in state funding prompted school officials to cut teaching and support staff positions in an effort to close a $650,000 hole in the district’s approximately $10 million budget.

School officials want to make sure the district’s reserves are plentiful. Page said enrollment is expected to decline again next school year and the reserves will help brace against further reductions.

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