Number of calculated students up despite enrollment dip

11/10/2012

By RACHAEL GRAY

By RACHAEL GRAY

rgray@gctelegram.com

Overall enrollment for USD 457 may be down slightly, but the number of students counted for state aid per pupil may be up.

According to Kathleen Whitley, financial officer, the total number of students in the district is down by 43 but the full-time equivalency student number is up by 30.

Documents from the district showed 7,595 students were counted this fall, as compared to 7,638 for the 2011 audited enrollment.

The district's student population had been increasing for the past three years. Last school year, enrollment increased 59 students over the previous year, and the year prior, the growth was 88 students.

The numbers for this year are preliminary and will not be official until the school is audited in March, Whitley said.

"We have fewer students that are part-time than we had last year. Maybe fewer kindergarten and preschool, too," she said.

Whitley said some high school students are not full-time, such as the ones who attend classes at Garden City Community College.

"I think now the students are taking more of those college classes at the high school," she said, explaining why there are more full-time equivalency students.

State aid for school districts is distributed based upon a full-time equivalency (FTE) formula. For example, a kindergarten pupil is counted as 0.5 in the formula while other students are counted as 1.0. Some high school seniors, Whitley said, may be counted as less than 1.0 because they may not carry a full course load, the result of already having finished or nearly finished the credits required for graduation. There are other variables figured into the FTE formula.

Other school budget funds come from property taxes. The bulk of the budget comes from dollars administered and distributed by the Kansas State Department of Education from various funds, the largest of which is general state aid.

The district will receive a per-pupil amount of $3,838 per weighted student. Weighted students are those who qualify for free lunches, English Language Learner students, students involved in vocational educational programs and students who rely on the district for transportation.

The state aid per pupil is up from last year's amount of $3,780.

The number of students at Garden City High School may have increased since last year, according to the preliminary numbers.

The fall count shows 2,065 students at GCHS as compared to 1,961 students for the 2011 audited enrollment.

FTE enrollment for GCHS for this year shows 2,061.8 unaudited as compared to 1,933 adjusted audited enrollment for 2011, according to district documents.

Whitley said it's hard to compare facilities to the same facilities as last year because of the changing of the school boundaries.

"There's been a whole lot of switching around. You can't really compare last year's building counts to this year's," she said.

In June 2011, the USD 457 Board of Education approved the first change to the school boundaries since the 1997-98 school year.

The board approved changes to the boundaries at a March BOE meeting.

The adjustment to school boundaries affected five elementary schools and the district's two intermediate centers.

The changes affect Abe Hubert, Alta Brown, Georgia Matthews, Jennie Barker and Victor Ornelas elementary schools. The boundaries of the two intermediate centers, Charles O. Stones Intermediate Center and Bernadine Sitts Intermediate Center, also were adjusted.

The changes to the boundaries were necessary after an enrollment analysis determined that some schools would have too many students if boundaries remain unchanged. The adjustments will allow for growth at the schools and allow balance at the two intermediate centers, according to a statement released by Roy Cessna, USD 457 public information officer.

The boundaries change is part of the long-range facilities plan that converted Garfield Early Childhood Center to just house the early childhood programs, created Horace Good Middle School out of the former high school, converted Abe Hubert into an elementary school and moved GCHS into its brand new building.

Sept. 20, 2012 enrollment compared to 2011 adjusted enrollment

2012 2011 Difference

District: 7,595 7,638 -43

*Abe Hubert Elementary School: 315 246 +69

Alta Brown Elementary SChool: 383 399 -16

Buffalo Jones Elementary School: 332 331 +1

Edith Sheuerman Elementary School: 233 229 +4

Florence Wilson Elementary School: 347 454 -107

**Garfield Early Childhood Center: 334 149 +185

Georgia Matthews Elementary School: 164 305 -141

Gertrude Walker Elementary School: 291 292 -1

Jennie Barker Elementary School: 132 151 -19

Jennie Wilson Elementary School: 192 207 -15

Plymell Elementary School: 132 147 -15

Victor Ornelas Elementary School: 448 432 +16

Bernadine Sitts Intermediate Center 511 571 -60

Charles O. Stones Elementary School: 486 491 -5

**Horace J. Good Middle School: 674 611 +63

Kenneth Henderson Middle School: 473 553 -80

Garden City High School: 2,065 1,954 +111

Bison Center: 15 37 -22

****District-wide: 61 76 -15

*Abe Hubert's 2012 numbers are compared to the 2011 number of Garfield when it was an elementary school.

**The Garfield Early Childhood Center numbers for 2011 are only the number of students at the center. The facility formerly housed both an elementary school and early childhood center.

***Horace Good Middle School's 2012 numbers are compared to the 2011 numbers of Abe Hubert when it was a middle school.

***The district-wide numbers primarily represent students at St. Dominic Catholic School and Saint Mary Catholic School in special education and band.

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