Coupeville School District makes budget cuts

Coupeville School District administrative staff will not see cost of living adjustments next year.

Coupeville School District administrative staff will not see cost of living adjustments to their salaries this coming school year as the district undergoes a round of significant budget cuts.

Some administrative staff will also voluntarily reduce the number of days they work, and two director positions will be cut and their responsibilities absorbed by other administrators as the district responds to the loss of pandemic-era federal funding.

Like many regional school districts, including Oak Harbor and South Whidbey school districts, Coupeville is facing budget reductions due in large part to the increased cost of goods, services and staffing, as well as the loss of CARES Act and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds. Coupeville School District must reduce its budget by at least 5.5%, or approximately $1 million, according to the district website’s finance and budget page.

At its April meeting, the Coupeville School Board approved the Modified Education Plan, which included the initial budget cuts. According to an email Superintendent Steve King sent to district families, administrative and non-represented staff, including directors, agreed to not take the state inflationary adjustments for the 2023-24 school year, which would have been a 3.7% increase in pay. This will save the district $77,000, King’s email stated.

The athletic and transportation director positions were also eliminated for the coming school year. The current athletic director, Willie Smith, will become a full-time teacher, and Coupeville High School Assistant Principal Leonard Edlund will take over the responsibilities of the position, saving the district the cost of the athletic director stipend.

Likewise, maintenance director Scott Losey, who took over transportation director responsibilities for a yearly stipend beginning in 2021, will return to focusing solely on capital projects. Superintendent King will handle transportation director responsibilities beginning in the coming school year.

A number of other staff members have agreed to a reduction in the number of days they will work in the coming school year.

These budget cuts will save the district around $195,600 in the 2023-24 school year.

Non-administrative staff reductions will also save the district money; King explained in an email that reductions in staffing include retirements or resignations that have already occurred or may occur in the future.

District documents indicate that across all categories, the district has made around $928,000 of budget cuts to date for the coming school year.