Superintendent recommends extension for Commodore cuts

Superintendent recommends extension for Commodore cuts

Time has not run out for Commodore Options School.

Bainbridge Island School District Superintendent Peter Bang-Knudsen said Wednesday that he’ll ask the school board to extend the timeline for considering the future of Commodore and its programs.

The school, and the fate of its programs, has been in question as district officials look at budget cutbacks of $2.1 million to $3.2 million for the coming school year.

At a community meeting on Wednesday night, Bang-Knudsen said he will be making a recommendation that the school board extend the timeline for consideration of budget cuts to the Commodore Options School — known as Option Two under the pair of strategies outlined by the district for budget cuts — until the 2018-2019 school year.

“While Option Two could be accomplished by next school year, it does require significant logistics to be implemented,” Bang-Knudsen said.

The superintendent said the timeline was being extended to allow more time for community input.

Wednesday’s meeting was the second time the district held a meeting specifically devoted to budget cuts since the district surprisingly announced its fiscal crisis following last month’s successful vote on two school district levies.

In a February letter to district parents and staff, Bang-Knudsen announced the district will need to make significant budget cuts for the 2017-2018 school year.

In the letter, the superintendent detailed two possible options to address the budget crisis. Option One called for cuts to school programs and staff, while Option Two detailed the closure of the Commodore Options School and the dispersal of its programs throughout the district, as well as additional staffing and program cuts.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Michael Wynne-Jones praised Bang-Knudsen for listening to the members of the community.

“I think that the recommendation that you will be making to the board tomorrow night will do a lot to build confidence in the community,” Wynne-Jones said.

“You are acknowledging that it needs more time in order to make it work really well,” he said.

Bang-Knudsen warned that the school board was unlikely to adopt a resolution extending the timeline at this week’s board meeting, given such short notice for the new idea.

The superintendent did say that it was possible such a resolution would be made at a future board meeting.

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