Lopez School Board discusses possible budget reductions

At a public workshop session of the Lopez Island School District (LISD) Board of Directors on March 19, the members of the Board and the audience were presented with a series of proposals for possible budget reductions to address declining enrollment predictions and the possibility of closing Decatur School.

Superintendent Bill Evans presented several budget reduction options for discussion, to reflect a predicted loss of up to seven to 10 students per year for the next several years, as well as the potential loss of income that closing Decatur School might bring.

Decatur School, on Decatur Island, is designated as a “Remote and Necessary” school by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education, and thus generates significant income for the Lopez Island School District. The district may have to close Decatur due to the possibility of losing two students when the current teacher and her family move off-island, and also losing the only remaining student if that family also moves away from the island. “We are hoping that some family or families will choose to move to Decatur Island to join that wonderful community and partake in the amazing educational experience that a small one-room school can offer,” said Superintendent Evans.

The budget reduction options presented by Evans included potential reductions in extracurricular activities, custodial and other support-staff time, elementary classroom teacher time, the Superintendent’s contract, and other cost-saving ideas. “The Board and administration feel very strongly that any potential budget reductions should be as far away from students and classrooms as possible,” said Evans.

No decisions were made as the purpose of the meeting was to begin thinking of the future, a future that may likely begin with 2008-09 school year, said Evans. The Board thanked the administration for their work and directed them to continue brainstorming and to bring back more ideas at subsequent board meetings.