Community News

The school district is anticipating a budget shortfall of $450,000 this school year. The Anacortes School Board Thursday night approved a plan to form a finance committee to figure out how to cut expenses.

Cindy Simonsen, the district’s director of learning and instruction, had predicted that there would be 2,705 full-time equivalent students this year, but when classes started, there were 67 fewer students.

Simonsen said the cut in enrollment was completely unanticipated. Simonsen told the school board that she expects the high school would finish the year with fewer than 800 students, the lowest enrollment in many years.

With the unanticipated drop in enrollment combined with a drop the school district had anticipated, the high school will have lost 147 full-time equivalent students since last year.

The finance committee, which will consist of two school board members and others from the district’s leadership committee, will meet within a week to take a closer look at just what to do.

School Superintendent Chris Borgen, meanwhile, told the school board that district needs to restrict out-of-district travel, not fill open positions and scrutinize other costs.