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Low enrollment prompts school district to rollback levy

The Coupeville School Board is scheduled to approve next month a rollback on the amount of levy dollars the district can collect from taxpayers.

The school board is scheduled to rollback the district’s levy by $246,000. The roll back will reduce the school district’s levy to $2.23 million in the 2013-2014 school year, which is down from the $2.4 million amount voters approved nearly four years ago.

School officials had to reduce the levy because the approved amount exceeded the amount the district can legally collect.

During the July 22 school board meeting, Sheldon Rosenkrance, principal at the high school, said the district’s enrollment has declined, which means a reduction in state revenue. The rollback comes as school officials put the finishing touches on their 2013-14 budget.

The Coupeville School Board reluctantly approved during a recent public meeting the district’s $10.3-million budget. School officials said they are concerned the budget isn’t sustainable and could lead to cutbacks in the future.

“We’re going to be addressing a fairly significant budget hole,” board member Don Sherman said during the meeting.

Board members were concerned about the school district’s fund balance, which is slated to be just above 5 percent of revenue. The projected fund balance is on the low end of the school board’s goal of maintaining a 5-8 percent fund balance. A fund balance is needed in case the district encounters any unexpected expenses through the school year.

Even though the fund balance is near the bottom, Superintendent Jim Shank, who started his position in June, described the fund balance as “solid.”

School officials are projecting that the equivalent of 910 full-time students will attend Coupeville schools in the 2013-14 school year, which is a lower projection from the previous year. An accurate enrollment projection is necessary because state funding is based on the number of students.

The school district did receive an additional $130,000 in state funding that will help pay for materials, supplies and operating costs. The district also received an additional $28,000 that will help pay for transportation costs.

The coming year poses several challenges for the school district.

Most notably the Coupeville School District has two levies that expire. One is the maintenance and operations levy and the other is a technology levy. Voters could decide whether to re-approve both levies as early as February 2014.

 

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