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CK schools in eye of the storm

The words hung in the air like a bad dream Wednesday night when Central Kitsap School District Superintendent Greg Lynch told board members one of the district’s secondary schools might close within two years.

Although the budget for next year will operate with the absence of Tracyton and Seabeck elementary schools, declining enrollment is still causing a gamut of problems across the district. Along with enrollment declines, Lynch explained the deficit problems, which will have already had an impact on various district programs for next year.

“It’s been a fairly long process,” Lynch said. “Over the next two years, every program will be scrutinized.”

The study of secondary school closure will include the three junior highs, two high schools and Klahowya Secondary School (KSS). During the next year, members of the Task Force Resource will study the configurations of the junior highs and high schools to determine if their models are cost-effective enough for a future of increased capacity. Currently, the district junior highs house seventh-grade through ninth-grade students with high schools having 10th- through 12th-grade students. KSS is home to seventh- through 12th-grade students.

“The emphasis is not about one building or neighborhood, but what’s best for the district,” Lynch told board members, adding that by the school year 2011-12, CKSD will be down 2,000 students, making them a district of 10,000.

If secondary school closure is studied, Lynch said he wants to use the same criteria used for the elementary school closures which were maximize learning for each student, ensure and support an effective and highly skilled staff, provide a safe and caring environment for all students and staff, implement a fiscally sound budget aligned with district goals and desired outcomes and engage parents and the community in the education of their students.

With the budget for the 2007-08 school year balanced, the focus is now on the next year and future years to come. Lynch also presented an approximate timeline at the meeting that listed continuation decisions of secondary school closure by June 2008.

Also at the meeting, a public budget forum was opened to the community regarding the fate of the district’s program. Although the music and pool programs are safe for the 2007-08 school year, many parents and community members expressed their concerns for the future of these programs.

“Sports and music helped me to be a better individual ... and obtain my goals,” said Olympic Aquatic Club (OAC) Coach Amy Meyer. “Yes, obviously money is an issue ... at a certain point though ... the Kitsap Peninsula might not be aware of how serious things are.”

Members of the OAC also volunteered to work with the district to help fund pool costs, removing its budget burden from the district.

The next CKSD board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 13, in the Jenne-Wright Administration Center.

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