News

Classes in the balance

by MICHAEL DASHIELL
Sequim Gazette

Lose the classes or the students?

 

Facing lower enrollment projections and a limited budget for the classes, Sequim schools superintendent Bill Bentley came to his school board Monday night with recommendations to trim four classes — and nearly one full teacher position — from Sequim High School’s vocational program for the 2012-2013 school year.

 

School board members, however, were hesitant to approve the recommendation and scheduled a meeting for next Monday evening to consider alternatives.

 

The proposal includes elimination of one section of four classes. Enrollment forecasts for the classes show some interest from returning students who are now in grades 9-11, but not at levels to keep the classes, Bentley said Monday.

 

The classes include Introduction to Auto (13 returning students show interest); Welding (12); Engineering Technology (seven); and Agriculture Science (two).

 

“We have a ton of kids who come to us every day because of these kinds of classes,” board director Virginia O’Neil said. “I feel like the state would do away with all voc (vocational classes) and put them into Algebra II.”

 

The recommended cuts include trimming staff by nearly one full staff position (eight-tenths of a full-time staffer).

 

The recommendation comes prior to a May 1 dead-line school districts face whenever they schedule programs for the coming academic year. Districts in Washington must offer reduction-in-force notices to staff by that date if the district plans to eliminate or scale back programs but can offer those positions back at later dates when adjusting budgets later in the year.

 

“We adjust all of our programs by numbers; that’s what this is,” Bentley said. “The reality is, kids don’t have as many options because of all these requirements.”

 

Board director Bev Horan expressed disappointment that the cuts are being considered.

 

“We talk about how every kid counts (but) … they don’t all count.”

 

The board meets next at 7 p.m. Monday, April 23.

 

 

Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@sequimgazette.com.

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