Now that the “dust has settled” on our enrollment decrease of 52 students, we are formulating plans to address the reduction of revenue of over $325,000 to our budget. In addition to addressing our budget for next year, it is also a good time to attempt an enrollment prediction for the future.
“Rolling” your enrollment is simply promoting our 1st grade students to 2nd grade and 2nd grade to 3rd grade until you exit the 12th grade students. We then predict our kindergarten enrollment based on our preschool numbers and also taking into account the history of our actual class sizes.
I knew when I accepted the superintendent job at Washington, that our 3 largest classes in the district were our 8th, 9th, and 10th grade students with approximately 139, 130, and 145 respectively. As we continue rolling our enrollment, with our averaging classes in K-5 of 107 students, you can see we will need to prepare for offering a quality education with much less money and fewer students.
By doing this, we could see a potential reduction in our enrollment of 200 students by the fall of 2020. This is all speculative in nature, but it is something we must be considerate of as we plan for the future. The good news is, we have started the process of taking a deep look at our system offerings and staffing because of our drop of 52 students this year. As I have told staff, there is no reason that we will hit the panic button, but we will be thoughtful and proactive in nature as we move forward.
At no time will we stop looking for ways to offer innovative programming for the students of Washington Community Schools. To do this, we will just need to plan accordingly. As I have shared with our board and staff, any time a system has a challenge, you come out stronger by examining how your allocate money and give careful consideration to planning for the future.
As we move forward, I see that we must solidify our current operational sharing that we have in place with WACO and Highland respectively. We currently share operational functions of transportation director, human resources, business manager, and operations manager. We share the salaries of these employees and also receive additional funding from the state to offset the costs. This is equally beneficial for all districts involved and has no implications for student sharing whatsoever.
In summary, the current enrollment dip has provided us the opportunity to examine ourselves as a district and enabled us to identify and plan for the future when our largest classes leave our system by 2020. At this point, all of this is speculative and is an estimate of what seems to heading our way. But we need to be looking toward the future and address our challenges head on. By doing this, we will become a stronger district that continues to offer the best choice of offerings in the area. Thank you for your continued support of the Washington Community Schools. Follow us on Twitter using the hashtag - #washpride or find each school on Facebook. As always, feel free to contact me with questions.