Committee to discuss next Coupeville School District budget

An eight-member budget committee formed to examine the upcoming budget for the Coupeville School District. They will hold a public meeting at the end of the month to discuss the pending budget.

School officials don’t have a dollar amount yet for next year’s budget. They are waiting for information from the state Legislature. They aren’t expecting many changes from the previous year’s budget.

“We’re trying, as close as possible, to keep a status quo budget,” said Lisa Bjork, interim superintendent for the Coupeville School District. She is serving in the temporary position until her replacement, Jim Shank, starts in June.

The Coupeville School District budget for the 2012-2013 school year stands at $9.4 million.

It looks like they are anticipating fewer students in classroom in the coming school year. Officials are estimating that the equivalent of 910 full-time students will attend the Coupeville School District in the coming school. That is 13 fewer students than what was estimated last year and five less then the current attendance. An accurate enrollment prediction is important because the state bases its funding first on the enrollment prediction and then on actual enrollment counts that take place through the school year.

Despite the slight decline in students, Bjork said she is anticipating not having to eliminate any positions in order to come up with a balanced budged.

She expects to have a draft budget available by June. By then, school staff should have numbers from the state and what new programs are going to be funded.

A recent Washington State Supreme Court case found that the state legislature hasn’t fully funded education.

Among the additions being considered include funding more all-day kindergarten classes, increases in transportation funding and reduction in class size.

Bjork said she hopes the Legislature would restore the 1.9 percent pay cut teachers received several years ago.

The newly constituted budget committee is comprised of school administrators, representatives from the Coupeville Education Association and the Coupeville Education Support Association along with school board members Chris Chan and Kathleen Anderson. The associations represent teachers and support staff.

Bjork said the budget committee will help clarify the district’s budget situation while keeping the process transparent and open to the community.

The meeting takes place at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 28 at the Coupeville Middle School and High School Library.

Following the budget review committee is a school board meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Coupeville Elementary School library.


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