School Districts Optimistic

By: Jessica Aspiras Email
By: Jessica Aspiras Email

334 is the unofficial number of students Jackson Public Schools has lost since last fall, according to last week's "Count Day" numbers.

"You need the full ten days that the state allows you to count those students," explains Superintendent Dan Evans. "Your count on the first day is never what it's going to be in the end."

School districts have until February 27th to come up with an official number of students lost. It's a number that will help determine funding for the next year. Superintendent Evans expects the current number to be cut in half and wind up similar to that of last year's loss of 183.

"Just in five schools, that I checked with today, that number has changed by 100 students. So over a ten day period that number is certainly going to collapse down."

"Last year we had lost 81 students, today only 36. So we're less than half of what we had last year," Northwest Community Schools Superintendent Emily Kress says.

Teacher layoffs and increased classroom sizes at Northwest last year, were in part due to the $567,000 the district lost after losing those 81 students. Both Northwest & Jackson receive about $7,000 in funding per pupil.

"For this district we had a difficult time last year," Superintendent Kress explains. "We've been watching numbers so carefully. We're really on top of it. We've got our fingers on the paws of how many students we have, so that we can then adjust our budget and our expenditures."

Because numbers are lower this year, the district doesn't anticipate any cuts, rather new opportunities.

"We're going to try to bring down some of those class sizes, especially in the lower elementary, because we know those first few years are where a lot of basic education occurs."

Both districts realize student enrollment will probably continue to drop, but in the meantime, districts will make do with what funding they have.

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