UPDATE | School district says it will keep threatened class intact

South Whidbey District Superintendent Fred McCarthy gave a packed house his decision today on whether the district would save a threatened class and teacher.

Earlier this week, the news of declining enrollment pressed district officials to consider dissolving an entire third- and fourth-grade multi-age class at South Whidbey Elementary School, which would have affected as many as 100 kids and the size of other classes.

Before the entire elementary school student body late on Friday — and several dozen anxious parents — McCarthy explained the problem and the solution.

"Not as many kids showed up for school this year as we expected," McCarthy told the hushed children. "We had to take drastic action because of the money the state won't be giving us. But thanks to your parents, staff and dedicated young people, we're going to dip into our savings and keep the class and teacher through the end."

The elementary school gym erupted into cheers.

McCarthy then introduced five students — Andrew Baesler, Russell Daly, Liam Henny, Charlie Lewarne and Orion Winter — who presented him with a petition with 184 signatures and a letter asking him to find a way to keep the class intact.

"These young boys are great examples of the kind of good citizenship we teach in our schools," McCarthy said.

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