District may shut down Langley Middle School

LANGLEY — South Whidbey School District Superintendent Fred McCarthy announced today he is recommending a major restructuring of public education on the South End, and the plan includes closing Langley Middle School.

The move is in response to a series of financial hits caused by declining enrollment, increasing costs and the continuing recession.

Under one proposed option, grades six and seven will be housed in the vacated primary school — as would the administrative staff offices — while grades eight and nine will be reconstituted at the slightly-modified high school campus.

In a second plan, grades six, seven and eight will be at the high school.

McCarthy said the plans are not set in stone.

"I believe there will be more plans coming from others as the board reviews the restructuring over the next two months," McCarthy said. "They will determine the reconfiguration, and it will include the best input."

All schools would start and end at the same time, allowing a single bus run instead of the current two.

Admitting that some of the ideas he will present to the school board may be unsettling, McCarthy outlined a series of changes to the way the district does business.

The goal is to save $1.8 million out of next year's budget, roughly 11 percent of the district's annual $17 million budget.

Closing the middle school is expected to save $498,000 in operating costs per year. Others savings — including changes to the curriculum and transportation — will total $600,000.

The district already has determined it will save $300,000 by consolidating the primary and intermediate schools.

McCarthy is also suggesting contracting out for maintenance and food service operations, a further savings of $302,000.

The board will conduct the first of several workshops to examine McCarthy's recommendations on program changes and staffing cuts at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 6 at the intermediate school. The final board decision is expected on July 22.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or

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