Enrollment is steady
It's still early but enrollment in the Baldwin School District might remain steady from a year ago.
The final enrollment numbers are turned in Sept. 20, but districts always try to estimate where they stand before that date. Baldwin has a couple of schools that have increased, while others have decreased in size.
"It's a little early, but I would say it's going to be pretty close," Supt. Paul Dorathy said. "There is not going to be a lot of change up or down, but I wasn't expecting a lot of change."
As of Tuesday, Dorathy reported a head count of 1,420 students in the district. He also said that number will change, probably increasing during the next month.
"Head count is a rough term. It's how many kids are actually here, not how many you get funding for," Dorathy said Tuesday. "I fully expect that to be up higher than that by Sept. 20," Dorathy said. "It was last year. Those are pretty rough numbers."
The two schools that have reported higher enrollment already are the two rural buildings, Marion Springs and Vinland elementary schools.
MSES Principal Gus Wegner reported 89 students have enrolled for kindergarten through fifth grades. That number is up eight students from a year ago. He said the primary reason is a large fourth grade class, which has 25 students enrolled.
"That's really good for us to be plus seven students," Wegner said. "It's a nice increase."
Vinland's enrollment is up slightly also. VES Principal Bill Scott said they have enrolled 85 students at VES. That number is an increase of two students from a year ago.
The two Baldwin elementary schools have enrolled about the same number of children as last year. Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center has enrolled 197 students, but it keeps having kids come in every day. That number is about average for the school, said BESPC Principal Deb Ehling-Gwin.
Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center has enrolled 227 students, which is also about the same as last year.
"If you look at last year on Sept. 20, those numbers are the exact same," BESIC Principal Tom Mundinger said. "We're pretty firm on that number for this year, but it could slightly change."
Baldwin Junior High School and Baldwin High School have both seen decreases in their enrollments. BJHS had 323 enroll as of Tuesday, but Principal Connie Wright expects to be around 328.
"Enrollment went fantastic here," Wright said. "We had almost half of our students through by the time the enrollment date came. We are down a little bit this year, because of a small sixth grade class."
BHS is also down because of some small grade levels. A total of 417 students have enrolled at BHS, according to Assistant Principal Bret Jones.
He said the senior and sophomore classes are the smallest in the district, while the junior and freshman classes are the largest. Jones also said BHS' enrollment has decreased slightly from last year.
"We may pick up a few new students in the next week, but we are down a little bit," Jones said. "We have the two smallest classes in the district in our school."
Another small class that is expected is the kindergarten class. Dorathy expected that number of students to drop significantly, but he had better news on Tuesday when he saw that 83 kindergartners had enrolled.
"I was initially told that it was going to be low, but I'm not sure it's going to be as low as we thought," Dorathy said. "I was in here looking at the numbers today and it doesn't look like it's quite as bad as we first thought."
At this point, he isn't sure what the district's total enrollment will be, but he hopes it will increase from a year ago for budgetary reasons.
"At this point our growth really needs to be gradual," Dorathy said. "School districts really stress and strain when you grow too quickly. But you have to be increasing or you run into budget problems. It's better to be increasing a little bit at a time."