West Sound Technical Skills Center will not offer summer school this year in an effort to save the Bremerton School District money as it faces more than $1 million in budget reductions.
The move will save the district $200,000. Though the district has no indication from the Legislature yet of how large of a budget deficit it will face for the 2011-2012 school year, the worst case scenario will be about $1.2 million in cuts, Director of Finance and Operations Wayne Lindberg said.
West Sound Tech’s enrollment for the regular school year typically ranges between 500 to 550 students, usually high school juniors and seniors. About 370 students took summer school last year, Director Lillian Hunter said. Of the school’s 15 career and technical programs it offers, 13 of them were offered during the summer in 2010.
The technical center serves students throughout Kitsap County and from north Mason County and offers apprenticeships, certification programs and college credits to students as an alternative to traditional high school classes.
In addition to allowing preexisting West Sound Tech students to complete more coursework and earn additional college credits, summer is also a time when ninth graders who fell behind during the school year can catch up on credits, Hunter said. About 100 ninth graders enroll in summer classes at West Sound Tech for credit retrieval.
Summer is also when many students try West Sound Tech for the first time.
“This is students’ opportunity to get their feet wet and plan for their careers,” Hunter said. “I think we’re going to see less exposure for West Sound Tech.”
The nursing assistant and cosmetology programs will be particularly affected by the summer closure, Hunter said. Because students often need the summer hours to earn industry certification in those fields, cutting off that time might prevent them from obtaining the accreditation they need before high school graduation.
“We’re struggling to figure out how they’re going to do that,” Hunter said. “It might take them longer, they might not be able to do it.”
If those students do not earn their industry certification before finishing high school, to finish they would have to pay tuition at a school such as Olympic College.
Teachers who teach summer school classes receive an additional $2,000 stipend not part of their contracted salaries.