Enrollment Up For 2016-17
It is with great pleasure to share that our certified enrollment has increased by 40 students. After dealing with decreases of 26 and 52 respectively the last two years, this is a welcome surprise. Surprise because if we “rolled” our enrollments forward by simply promoting 1st graders to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd, we should have either remained steady or grown a little. But, just as last year when there was no anticipation of a severe decrease, the indicators are hard to pinpoint for such an increase.
What actually makes up this “certified enrollment” number? The certified enrollment, that determines our funding on a per pupil basis, is made up of resident students, whether they attend our district or not. So, residents that choose to attend another district for a variety of reasons, actually are included in our certified enrollment number.
What Makes Up Certified Enrollment?
Our resident numbers are up 37.60 to 1589.80 and our open enrollment “out” students are up to 153.4, and increase of 1.30. With some small weighting (1.90) for other things, we land at a certified enrollment of 1745.10, up from 1705.05 last year. So we are funded based on residents, but will get billed for the for the 153.4 students who attend another district, with the money passing onto each district respectively. Another positive trend is open enrolled “in” students, increasing 16.90 to 95.70 this year. So while we will be billed for the 153.4 “out” students, we will in turn bill for the 95.70 students who choose Washington. So our net open enrollment number will decrease from a -73.3 to -57.7. So while our certified enrollment is up 40.05, and our open enrollment net is still negative (-57.7), with the total students served up 55.65.
A concerning number that also goes into certified enrollment is our 4-year old preschool enrollment. Last year, we counted 98 4-year olds between Kingdom Kids, St. James, and Washington. This year we are counting 81 among the 3 providers respectively.
I knew when I accepted the superintendent job at Washington, that our 3 largest classes in the district were our 9th, and 10th, and 11th 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 100 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 factors that are out of our control seem to be a more transient society in general, where families come and go more frequently and sporadically. There is no reason to speculate as to why that is, but instead we must work as a system to make ourselves more attractive to area families.
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 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 you allocate money and give careful consideration to planning for the future.
In summary, the current uptick in enrollment is positive, but we will continue to examine ourselves as a district and 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. And as I have gotten to know our staff even better, I can say without a doubt, our staff has never been more focused on improvement of our system, and also know that they will tirelessly work to offer the best programs. 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.