The school year is only half over, but Anacortes School District administrators are already looking to next year and how they will handle revenue losses of nearly $2 million at the same time salary expenses will rise.

It will be a tough couple of months, Superintendent Justin Irish told the School Board at its meeting Jan. 21.

Enrollment is down about 130 students, with numbers dropping more than ever before, district Finances and Operations Director Dave Cram said at the meeting. State and levy funding are based on enrollment.

Cram said about $1.6 million of the expected shortfall is from state funding, and $167,000 comes from a loss of levy revenue associated with the enrollment drop.

New expenses will come from $670,000 in salary and benefit increases and from adding a necessary member of the technology department staff, Irish said.

Numbers started dropping when the district announced it would have only remote learning to start the current year and then another drop again after announcing a return to in-person learning.

“It’s worse than we anticipated,” Irish said.

Education leaders are fighting for a change at the legislative level that would mean financial relief for districts across the state. Many districts face the same challenges as Anacortes, as more parents have opted to either homeschool their kids or send them to private schools.

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