Archive for Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Students, staff happy to be back in school; enrollment down slightly

The first full day for everyone in the Baldwin School District was Thursday. Here students at Baldwin Junior High School wait to board the bus after the first day of school. Although the numbers aren't official until Sept. 21, but early indications are enrollment is down this year.

The first full day for everyone in the Baldwin School District was Thursday. Here students at Baldwin Junior High School wait to board the bus after the first day of school. Although the numbers aren't official until Sept. 21, but early indications are enrollment is down this year.

August 25, 2009

Students are learning, teachers are educating and operations are running smoothly at all six Baldwin School District buildings.

As of Thursday, all of the students in the district started the 2009-2010 school year. The five principals are excited about the new year and their students.

“The school year has started off very well,” said Dan Wallsmith, first-year principal at Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center. “Most of the kids are happy to be back with their friends at school. Things are great.”

Despite the excitement of the building administrators, early enrollment numbers project the district to be down this year. On Monday, the district’s total head count was 1,417 students.

A year ago, when the enrollment numbers were calculated in September, the district’s head count was 1,457. The district’s enrollment numbers won’t be official until Sept. 21.

“We’re a little bit lower as a district this year,” said Connie Wright, Baldwin Junior High School principal. “I don’t think we had as many kids move in as we usually do each year. I think that’s the main reason for the decrease.”

BJHS was one of two schools to maintain its enrollment from the 2008-2009 school year. On Monday, BJHS had 335 students enrolled, which is the same number it had a year ago.

Wallsmith’s BESIC has increased a few students from a year ago. BESIC is up from 218 students to 224 right now. However, every other school is down from last year.

Baldwin High School lost a large senior class in May and has a small senior class this year. However, BHS is only down seven students, from 435 to 428, from the 2008-2009 school year.

BHS is now the smallest school in the Frontier League. Gardner-Edgerton is still the largest at 1,171 students. Following GEHS is Ottawa (678), Paola (648), De Soto (636), Spring Hill (582), Louisburg (510) and Eudora (451).

“We graduated a large senior class, so that is part of the reason we’re down a few students this year,” said Shaun Moseman, BHS principal. “We only have 82 seniors this year.”

Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center is down from 254 to 247, but they expect a few more students to enroll in the Preschool Education Program. Marion Springs Elementary School has decreased from 125 to 103. MSES did lose an afternoon 4-year-old class that moved to BESPC this year. Vinland Elementary School is down from 90 to 80 this year.

Despite the decreased enrollment, MSES and VES Principal Gus Wegner is happy to be back at school.

“The kids are happy to be back and excited for the school year,” Wegner said. “I think it helps that it’s not as hot outside, because they can enjoy recess more. It’s nice to be back with the kids and parents.”

The elementary schools had half-day classes on Aug. 18-19 and started full-day classes Aug. 20. Deb Ehling-Gwin, BESPC principal, has enjoyed the first week of school.

“The kids seem really happy and everyone is learning and having fun,” she said. “We’ve had a few changes that will take some getting used to by parents and faculty. First, we start at 8 a.m. and finish at 3:15 p.m. Second, the buses are dropping kids off at our front door, so parents need to be aware of that and the drop-off signs and zones.”

Several changes have been made at BHS, too, but Moseman thinks they are for the better.

“Our phone system upgrade was needed,” he said. “Now calls can go directly to teachers and they can check their voicemail when they have time. With the bond issue, we were able to put projectors in every classroom. We also have a new computer lab and we are starting our broadcasting classes. Things are rolling right along.”

Comments

Stacy Napier 4 years, 7 months ago

Time to start consolodating schools. With the new Primary center. They can close the other two schools and bus them in. I would like to know the per-student cost to run a building with only 80 or 103 students in it. Include in that a principal for those locations. I bet it is twice as high as the other PC.

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beevo 4 years, 7 months ago

“Early enrollment numbers project the district to be down this year. On Monday, the district’s total head count was 1,417 students. A year ago, when the enrollment numbers were calculated in September, the district’s head count was 1,457” This is forty less students in our school district. That equals about three classrooms. This is an example of people leaving the Baldwin City area. We need to reduce utility costs and taxes, not increase them

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rateraiser 4 years, 7 months ago

notwhatyouthink...did you forget? They didn't design the new PC to hold more students (ex. kids from Marion Springs and Vinland) than currently attending there. Why would you build a new school that would hold more kids than the current one? That would just make too much sense.

Like you said though....close MS and Vinland and the majority of the budget problems would probably be non-existant. No, I don't care about the blah, blah, blah, blahbady blah, excellent education they get out their with the 1:2 teacher student ratio. It costs too much and is inefficient to keep those schools open. The majority of disricts in this state have been consolidating for the past ten years. It's time we get with the program!

My mother taught at a school for 17 years and then they decided to quit using the building because it was delapidated. Everyone in the two towns that went there threw a kanipsit fit for a year. They (she was one of them, as well as I) petitioned, and they kept the school open for another year, but only had two classes there. That was over 7 years ago, now they are fixing it up for apartments. Point being, in the end, the building was closed and it consolidated with the neighboring town. The district did what they had to do, not what they wanted to do.

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collaborator 4 years, 7 months ago

“We graduated a large senior class, so that is part of the reason we’re down a few students this year,” said Shaun Moseman, BHS principal. “We only have 82 seniors this year.”

Umm, sorry, but that small senior class has been in the high school enrollment count for 3 years now. The high school did not drop enrollment because of them. Isn't it more likely that we graduated more students last year than we are taking in as freshman and transfers????

Likely reasons for the overall drop: 1. The recession and the extremely high cost of living in our town have ended the influx of commuters to Baldwin. This will not improve in the near future, especially if the full force of all the purchased school bonds, a newly proposed sales tax, and utility rate increases hit the books in the next 12 months. 2. More district families are opting for home school, private or virtual school.
3. The reason no BHS administrator will address: There are a growing number of BHS students who are choosing to attend Lawrence High as out-of-district students, even as they continue to live in the Baldwin district. The reasons are numerous and varied, and not all tied to sports. A large number of transferees have left to find more academic choices and rigor.

Let's get our heads out of the sand.

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NanCrisp 4 years, 7 months ago

Excellent posts and points, especially collaborator's.

  1. Local developers have shot the B.C. community in the foot by trying to push too much too fast. Up to a point, development brings more people into a community because they like the newer school buildings, the recreation facilities, and (though few would admit it) the reliable infrastructure. But there is a point of diminishing returns, and B.C. has already sped past it. Now that our taxes and utility rates are by far the highest in the area (not just in Dg. Co.), it's no wonder the other high schools in our sports league are growing while we're shrinking. People consider a lot of things when deciding to move into a community. When I moved here 17 years ago, it looked like a very good value and I was very pleased for the first 10 years. For the past 7 years, I've become less and less thrilled as the steam roller of "improvement" keeps giving me things I never asked for but have to pay for because someone thinks all of this attracts people to our community. Now that it's turning out not to be so, B.C. residents are stuck with the cost sans the benefit.

  2. I am one who has opted for first homeschool and now private school. Quite simply, my children are college-bound, and not just to say they went, but to complete a degree. The most telling facts for me are the statistics BHS tries to hide: How many BHS graduates even go to college? How many BHS graduates earn bachelor's degrees? My children attend a school where 100% of alumni are college graduates, many with advanced degrees. 96% of graduates earn academic scholarships; many are full-ride and many receive offers from multiple colleges and universities. Two years ago, when BHS had one National Merit Scholarship finalist in a class of 100, Seabury Academy had 6 in a class of 13. I believe the difference in these statistics comes not from student/teacher ratio, but from the motivation of the kids and the teachers.

  3. Despite the bragging that goes on in B.C., Lawrence schools are superior. There are numerous studies and statistics available that bear this out. Those who prefer B.C. to Lawrence are the ones whose kids have been subjected to bullying in Lawrence schools. It's a pretty big problem in all the Lawrence junior high schools and practically non-existent in B.C. I won't argue with people who put a priority on the physical safety aspect, but my priorities are different.

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greyghost 4 years, 7 months ago

notwhatyouthink and rateraiser;

I'll quote Ande Parks (school board member), as I'm sure he gets tired of repeating himself:

"Savings of about $136,000 in closing Vinland Savings of about $163,000 in closing Marion Springs Total of about $299,000 annually in closing both schools That figure reperesents 1.9% of the district's operational budget."

This was taken directly from this post: http://signal.baldwincity.com/users/andeparks/comments/

rateraiser: "Like you said though….close MS and Vinland and the majority of the budget problems would probably be non-existant."


greyghost says: So what you're saying is that if we cut 2% off the budget, our budget problems would probably be "non-existant"? You're wrong.

To most everyone on this forum, this is an old topic and it has been beaten to death. If you have a problem with this information, then get in touch with Ande directly. If you think his opinion was wrong on this, express it at a school board meeting.

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