District growth ‘positive’
Big kindergarten class paces Eudora USD 491’s reported enrollment growth
With final enrollment numbers tallied for its four main schools, it appears Eudora USD 491 continues to grow while other small-town Kansas school districts shrink.
According to numbers released by the district, Eudora High School, Eudora Middle School, Eudora West Elementary School and Nottingham Elementary School have a total headcount of 1,347 students ---- an increase of 66 students from last year.
"I think it's very positive when you consider how many districts across the state have declining enrollment," Superintendent Marty Kobza said. "It's allowed us to continue to do some things for our faculty and, in particular, for our students while others are having to sacrifice programs."
The district's overall enrollment numbers won't be finalized until October when totals from the Community Learning Center come in, Kobza said.
Although the district had an influx of 66 new students, for funding purposes the total boiled down to an enrollment increase of 16 if full-time equivalency.
"It was about right where we expected it to be. We built our budget on an increase of 40 FTE," Kobza said. "We should be right around that number when everything is said and done."
The two enrollment numbers are different because the state counts kindergarten students as half of a full-time student.
"Next year we might see those two numbers being closer to one another," Kobza said.
The sheer size of the current kindergarten class was a surprise, Kobza said.
"We knew it was going to be large, but we had no idea it was going to be that large," the superintendent said.
By final count, the district had 121 enrolled in kindergarten classes at Nottingham.
As a school, Nottingham has a total of 368 students ---- the second highest in the district. Eudora High School had the most with a total of 409 students.
Eudora West and the middle school have 285 and 325, respectively.
"I think we're still having a very steady growth rate," Kobza said. "We're not seeing some of the explosions that maybe De Soto or some of the other districts are seeing, but we're staying in the nice steady 3- to 5-percent range right now."
This year, 22 students are making use of the district's English as a Second Language courses, Kobza said.
"That number is increasing and really what we're seeing is a wide variety of languages," Kobza said.
He said the district's special education numbers are holding steady.
"It's very consistent. We haven't seen anything that has been a drastic or dramatic increase as opposed to previous years."
The district is currently using modular units at Nottingham and the middle school to contain its current size.
"Obviously, we have some growth challenges we have to address, but right now it's manageable," Kobza said. "We have a plan in place to manage growth."
Overall, the numbers look positive for the district, Kobza said.
"It's nice to have good steady growth. We're trying to put some plans in place to handle some of the challenges we have now and will try to stay ahead of the future.
"It's a positive thing, that's for sure."