Archive for Thursday, September 1, 2005

Enrollment increases in district

September 1, 2005

Although they won't be official for several weeks, preliminary enrollment estimates for USD 491 seem to match projections for the 2006 budget.

The through-the-door enrollment as of Friday topped out at 1,310 students. For state budget purposes that number counts kindergarten students at 50 percent and makes other adjustments, which translates into a so-called full-time equivalency enrollment of 1,256 students -- two more than originally projected.

The state uses the full-time equivalency number to determine the district's funding for the school year.

"Of course we built the budget on that, and we feel very comfortable where we're at," Superintendent Marty Kobza said. "We won't have to cut anything at this time because of not meeting that enrollment projection."

Although the preliminary numbers solidify the budget -- which the school board passed unanimously Thursday -- the bottom line could still fluctuate. The preliminary numbers do not include enrollment from the Eudora Community Learning Center.

The state uses a different formula to determine enrollment for that type of school, Kobza said, because the numbers within the center would fluctuate to a wider degree.

"You don't get that insured until you know they stay with you," Kobza said.

The enrollment at the center could add another five to 25 students to the overall full-time equivalency total.

The district built next year's budget on a projected growth of 20 students within the district over last year's total.

Kobza doesn't see the growth trend slowing down, but he said the district current numbers are run through a cohort retention model.

"We'll run them again, and I imagine we'll have the same growth. I anticipate there will be more than a two FTE growth next year," Kobza said.

If the growth rate continues, it would make added classrooms to curb school crowding in Eudora much more pressing.

"We're crowded at Nottingham already, and we'll need three new classrooms to have all-day kindergarten regardless of growth," Kobza said.

The issue at Nottingham and across the district sparked the board to discuss the planned addition of classroom trailers at the school as a way to bridge the gap to a potential 2008 bond issue.

In the meantime, Kobza accepts preliminary numbers.

"It would have been nice to have a few more in order to give us some breathing room, but it will be OK," Kobza said.

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