Archive for Thursday, September 24, 2009

School district enrollment down, at-risk students up

September 24, 2009

There was good news and bad news Monday with the Baldwin School District in regards to the 2009-2010 school year.

Monday was the official day for state schools to give final enrollment numbers. Those figures will be used for the annual budgets, so an increase or decrease could affect schools’ funding.

The first of the bad news was the district’s enrollment dropped from a year ago. Baldwin’s head count was 1,426 on Monday, which was a decrease from 1,444 a year ago.

Baldwin’s Full-Time Equivalent is at 1,341.5. That’s also a decrease from last year, which was 1,361.9. The FTE is the number used for state funding.

“We’re down a bit this year,” Supt. Paul Dorathy said. “Last year we had a very large senior class that graduated. We had a pretty good sized kindergarten class that moved to first grade.”

The other bad news Monday was something many school districts around the state are facing. Baldwin’s number of students receiving free or reduced lunches has increased from last year.

There are 372 students receiving free or reduced lunches this year, which is 26 percent of the district’s enrollment. A year ago, that number was 281 (19 percent of the enrollment).

“Both of those are up very significantly,” Dorathy said. “There are several reasons why those are up. First, the communication we had with patrons and how we dealt with it at every building in the district. We had a lot more applications this year, let alone the ones that qualified. Also, we’ve got a lot of families out there whose financial status has changed. That’s affected a lot of our patrons.”

In comparison, the Tonganoxie School District has 600 (31 percent of district enrollment) students on free and reduced lunches this year. That’s an increase from 485 (26 percent of district enrollment) a year ago.

Although those numbers are final for the district’s state funding, Dorathy said the district will still accept applications from families.

“That’s the count for our at-risk funding for the state,” Dorathy said. “We will still take applications later if people have things change financially. They can always apply later.”

Monday’s news wasn’t all bad for the school district. Despite the declining enrollment, the district won’t lose any state funding for the 2009-2010 school year.

Districts have three options for state funding enrollment numbers. They may use this year’s count, last year’s count or an average of the three previous years, which would include this year.

“That law is out there to help districts with declining enrollment,” Dorathy said. “So we can use that to offset it for a year. It also gives us a year to plan if we go down again next year. It just depends whichever number comes out best for us, then we would use that one.

“Right now, the best thing to our advantage is taking last year’s enrollment,” he said. “We will plug that number into the budget formula to figure out what our budget will be this year. We’ll continue to use the 1,361.9 from last year.”

The other good news regards the free and reduced lunches. Although an increase in that number isn’t good for families, it does help the district as it will receive additional dollars.

“The state does give us more money for at-risk students so that we may help those students,” Dorathy said. “They give us a little more money to support those programs.”

Comments

Torch 4 years, 10 months ago

Hey! I've got a great idea! Let's issue a school bond for $23 million and raise the mil levy!

Those stupid families who can't hold their jobs and leech off the rest of us obviously have no idea how to spend their money. We need to take it from them before they waste it on food, clothing, and shelter!

Afterall, The District is all that matters in Baldwin. You will all conform to the will of The District or suffer a miserable fate.

"The other good news regards the free and reduced lunches. Although an increase in that number isn’t good for families, it does help the district as it will receive additional dollars."

Good news? Where do you think that money comes from? The tooth fairy? That's OUR money they're giving us back.

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NanCrisp 4 years, 10 months ago

Yes, and the intention is that the money will be used to provide breakfast and lunch to those kids. So whether the families pay or the State pays for the food, it should be a wash as far as the school district is concerned. They should not consider this as any form of "extra" money. Things that make you go Hmmmm....

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Peabody 4 years, 10 months ago

Torch and NanCrisp,

No kidding on this issue, what are you two suggesting is the best solution to this increase in students in need of reduced lunches?

Are you suggesting these kids go hungry? Or do you want their familes to not pay other bills so they can pay for their kids' school lunches? What is it exactly that you are advocating?

In particular, Nancy Crisp, I'm saddened that you are not aware of the research on the learning differences between students who are well-fed and those who are hungry. This finding is fairly well documented and I would be happy to provide you with references if you like.

With all respect to each of your opinions, I find your comments on these familes ("stupid," "make(s) you go hmmmm") to be offensive. These families are in economic difficulty; their kids are not to blame. I'm not sure why we should not try to help them out, at the state and community level.

Tony Brown State Representative, 10th District Baldwin City Resident

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Stacy Napier 4 years, 10 months ago

Tony,

I thnk you are missing the point of their comments. It is not that the children should go without. But that our governing bodies continue to leach money from all the citizens in the name of social betterment and welfare, but you being one of those bodies wouldn't understand that byour part of the big machine.

When is the last time that a government said lets end a tax. Such as in sales tax. When they sunset they always step right up and say we need to keep it to continue one thing or another. How long will it be before the governement takes 50% of my income?

In 1937 the sales tax rate was 2%. The current rate is 5.3% right. How did we ever function with only 2%. This is the point. Govenement needs to learn to deal with less. Why do we need fancy buildings with fancy artwork etc. when a nice square simple bulding with simple offices will work. Why do we need big expensive studies to tell you what to do? Our forefathers didn't need that how did they ever make a descision?

Put the money where it is needed like school lunches.

And don't ask for more.

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NanCrisp 4 years, 10 months ago

Um, Tony:

What I am saying is that the article indicates that the school somehow benefits from this extra money. I am saying that it is, indeed, the children who should benefit. And, therefore, my point is completely this: The extra money better N.O.T be diverted from these kids' breakfasts and lunches!

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