School system’s enrollment declines, could potentially impact funding

Published 4:44 pm Tuesday, October 29, 2019

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Superintendent Tim Cochran announced the FTE student count for the state at the Board of Education meeting on Thursday night, noting a 5.1 percent decline since last year.

Cochran announced as of Tuesday the school’s total student count is 4,541 students, not including Pre-K. Last year the student count totaled 4,878.

The decline is largely attributed to the opening of the new charter school, Spring Creek Charter Academy, Cochran said. With this decline, Cochran believes the school’s funding will be impacted.

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Cochran told other board members the worst-case scenario is an estimated $2.1 million loss next year, but best case scenario is a $1.5 million loss. However, it cannot be said for certain this early in the year.

Cochran explained funding is measured through state growth and poverty.

“By us losing kids, it makes us look richer,” Cochran said. “Because it takes our student count and divides it by our digest.”

Cochran knows it is a very considerable amount of students the school system has lost. He acknowledged they lost over 200 students to the charter school and 60-70 students for unspecified reasons.

Cochran went on to explain the count is based on a three count system, so even if nothing changes the school will lose an additional $700,000 next October, because the students the school had last year are still in the past count, but by next October they will no longer be accounted for.

Cochran knows it is still early, but he is fairly certain these numbers are pretty close to the allotment they will receive.

“We will definitely be having a lot of conversations in the spring and fall for funding purposes,” Cochran finished. “We will need to make the community aware of how we plan to handle this $2.1 million loss in the budget.”