Good district numbers
Our View Editorial
We were interested by several numbers that came out this week in regards to the Baldwin School District. First was the mill levy reduction and the second was the early enrollment numbers.
With a slight mill levy increase by the City of Baldwin City and a fairly hefty mill levy increase from the Douglas County Commission, we weren’t too pleased that the school district had published a proposed budget that called for a 7.497 mill increase.
That changed Monday when the school board unanimously voted to shave 3 mills off its total. It’s still a mill levy increase, but 4.497 mills is better than 7.497 mills. The board took those 3 mills out of the Capital Outlay portion of the budget, so operations won’t be shortchanged.
Some projects will be put on hold to the tune of $222,000. Each mill raises around $74,000. In today’s still-rocky economy, it only makes sense to put off what can be put off and we’re happy to see the board make that decision.
As for the enrollment numbers being higher than last year, it just shows to go you don’t know what’s going to happen there. Years ago a demographer was hired by the district to predict enrollment. Those experts predicted enrollment would show a slight, but steady decline. We still haven’t seen that.
This year’s numbers show the opposite and the enrollment numbers show only what’s been done so far, with more students expected to enroll. So far, the head count this year is at 1,437 students, up from last year’s total of 1,426 students.
While 11 students is certainly a modest increase, more are expected to enroll before the first day of classes and the official number won’t be known until Sept. 20. But any increase means more state funding and that can only help the district, which has been saddled with deep budget cuts in the past several years.
Also helping with the budget will be the increased number of students going to the new Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center — when it’s finally completed. The decision was made to move all kindergartners, the 4-year-old program and third graders who would normally be going to Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center to BESPC to take advantage of increased state aid.
So far, enrollment at BESPC is at 376 students compared to last year’s 271. The district will receive around $1,000 per full-time student from the state because of new facilities weighting money.
Again, this only makes sense and we’re glad to see it.