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Coupeville schools brace for ‘dismal’ budget

Outgoing Coupeville School Board member Cindy Van Dyk at her last meeting rings the ceremonial bell, a gift commemorating her four years of service on the elected board. She decided not to run for reelection. Her seat will be filled by Jeff Tasoff, who takes over in January and will have to deal with the “dismal” budget outlook. - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Outgoing Coupeville School Board member Cindy Van Dyk at her last meeting rings the ceremonial bell, a gift commemorating her four years of service on the elected board. She decided not to run for reelection. Her seat will be filled by Jeff Tasoff, who takes over in January and will have to deal with the “dismal” budget outlook.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

Despite having already taken measures to save money, Coupeville school officials could have a tough time balancing a budget for the 2010-2011 school year.

Numbers are preliminary, but it looks like officials will see less money coming in while costs continue to rise.

“That looks pretty dismal and the reality is our budget is dismal,” Superintendent Patty Page said during Monday’s Coupeville School Board meeting.

Enrollment, which determines state funding, is continuing to decline in Coupeville.

The school district had an enrollment high of 1,128 students in 2004-2005, but that number will drop to 990 in 2010, and continue dropping to a predicted low of 913 in 2015.

Page said the incoming classes at the elementary school have been smaller than the classes graduating from the high school.

“That’s a tremendous loss,” school board member Kathleen Anderson said.

If the enrollment decline continues as predicted, then officials are expecting to lose between $115,000 and $229,000 next school year.

The school district is also facing a possible loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars from state funding sources as the Legislature deals with the continuing state budget crisis. The governor’s ideas include eliminating kindergarten through fourth-grade enhancement, which is funding that helps school districts reduce class size in earlier grades.

In addition Page said that the school district probably won’t receive I-728 money, which, among other things, goes to reduce class sizes in schools.

To help brace for any potential cuts, the school district saved some of its I-728 funding from previous years to cover potential future cuts.

In addition to the funding losses, the school district could see costs increase by more than $100,000 next year.

The Coupeville School District has to have a balanced budget developed by July 31, 2010.

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