A couple schools see jump in enrollment

By Jessica Beery • Last Updated 1:42 pm on Thursday, October 06, 2011

With this year’s changes in how the state of Michigan calculates funding for school, Wednesday’s school count was more important than ever.
In previous years, the fall school count determined 75 percent of the district’s funding from the state. This year the fall count will determine 90 percent of that funding.
Public schools are slated to receive about $6,850 per student for the 2011-2012 school year.
Most districts budgeted for their counts to be down this fall, following a multi-year trend of students moving from the district due to the poor economy.
Belding Area Schools budgeted for a decline of 70 students, but ended up losing 132 students since last fall, said Superintendent Leslie Mount. She said looking over the grade spans hasn’t revealed any abnormal declines.
“Our largest decline is at developmental kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade,” Mount said. “The groups entering the district are now smaller than those graduating. It seems to be a shift in our demographics.”
A similar small incoming kindergarten class and relocating families seem to be the cause behind Tri County and Lakeview schools’ enrollment decline as well.
Tri County Area Schools saw a loss of 119 students since last fall’s count, while Lakeview lost 109 students.
“A big change for us was a graduating class of 168 and an incoming kindergarten class of 147,” said Tri County Superintendent Al Cumings.
Tri County saw a steady decline all through the 2010-2011 school year as families moved away, ending the school year with 2,315, down 72 from the fall count.
“Our initial information shows that most of these were people moving out of the area,” Cumings said. “We are looking into school of choice numbers from other local schools to see if there are changes to those numbers.”
Not all districts saw a decline in enrollment, however. Greenville Public Schools increased 53 students since last fall.
“We did have a smaller graduating senior class and the enrollment with the kindergarten class came in the 280s,” said Director of Finance John Gilchrist. “We’re actually up 82 from this spring.”
Gilchrist said the enrollment numbers can sometimes be deceiving, as they are affected by a variety of factors outside of the district’s control.
“It’s strictly a year-to-year snapshot,” he said.

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