News

More CK school closures ‘pretty likely’

By PAUL BALCERAK

Staff writer

Another school closure could be on the way in the next couple of years.

Central Kitsap School District Superintendent Greg Lynch announced plans on Monday to form a school closure committee later this month.

“In conjunction with our committee work on Secondary Configuration and in accordance with our long-range plan as presented to our School Board last spring, we will begin forming a committee to look at capacity, projected enrollment and potential school closure this month,” Lynch wrote in an e-mail to district staffers Monday. “We anticipate presenting school closure options to our School Board next fall.”

The decision to form the committee comes on the heels of a projected $4 million budget deficit between now and the 2012-13 school year.

“As a direct result of your hard work and support last school year, our anticipated $1.8 million deficit for next school year has been reduced to $0.6 million,” the e-mail read. “Unfortunately, given declining enrollment, unfunded mandates and growing cost increases in all areas, we anticipate at least a $4 million shortfall between now and School Year 2012-2013.”

The committee will be formed under Lynch’s Task Force Resource (TFR) Steering Committee and will consist of district staffers, families of students and community members, CKSD Spokeswoman Melanie Reeder said.

All schools in the district will be represented by someone on the committee.

Little is known in terms of a timeline and at this point, it’s not even certain if a school — or schools — will actually close.

“We don’t know yet. At this point, that’s why we’re studying it,” Reeder said.

She added, however, that some form of school closure is “pretty likely.”

The timeline for school closures hinges largely on the TFR Secondary Reconfiguration Committee figuring out their own timeline, which remains similarly murky. That committee is debating which grade levels should be lumped together throughout the district (K-6, 6-9, etc.).

“We are not under the time-sensitive schedule that we were when we did school closure last year,” Reeder said.

There are sparse details of how the closure committee will determine which schools could be slated for closure. Much like during last year’s school closures, several determining factors will be in play — geography, academic performance, building capacity, etc.

That closure committee used a point system to determine which schools would be closed, with Seabeck and Tracyton elementaries at the bottom of the list. Both were closed at the end of the 2006-07 school year.

“I thought the process that they had for evaluating schools was really good ... and I thought it was really fair,” Woodlands Elementary PTA member Cindy Kleinfelter said. She worked with CKSD as a department secretary in the curriculum office for several years before leaving in 2002. She has two children currently attending Woodlands, which was next on the closure list after Seabeck and Tracyton.

“I worked 12 years for the school district and I understand budgets and (the need to consider closing schools).”

Should the district move forward with school closure, a similar process would likely play out.

“The same process will be used that was used before, but I don’t know if the criteria will be the same,” Reeder said.

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