CA student blended enrollment count declines slightly

FLINT TWP. — Fewer students means fewer state-aid dollars so Carman Ainsworth’s enrollment of 4,378 students on the fall Student Count Day last week was not happy news. But enrollment declines appear to be leveling off.

The unofficial count number will be adjusted for some partial students who will not be counted as full-time students and also could be reduced if students absent on the official count day do not return in 10 or 30 days, according to Russ Parks, assistant superintendent.

In the final analysis, the district anticipates an adjusted fall 2012 count of 4,375 which is up 7 students from the fall 2011 count of 4,368 and up 64 students from the spring 2012 count.

But Parks noted that it is 14 student less than the blended count of 4,382 from winter 2011 and fall 2011. That 14-student calendar-year loss equates to about $108,626 less in state aid revenue, he said.

CA receives $7,759 per pupil in state aid which also is down from past years.

Parks said it is not yet determined how the district will compensate for the drop in state aid. It is not a small amount but less than what the district has experienced over the last few years, he said.

In July, the school board passed its 2012-13 budget based on the assumption that blended student enrollment would be about 4,382.

Like many other school districts, CA is working with less revenue because of declining enrollment and state budget cuts. CA received $8,229 per pupil in the 2010-2011 school year.

On fall count day last year, CA reported a student enrollment drop of 188 students from September 2010 to September 2011. Of those, about 179 were believed to be absent students who would return.

But it mirrored a declining enrollment trend dating back several years..

Parks has previously provided data showing fall counts for the past seven years at 5,338 in 2006, 5,173 in 2007, 4,866 in 2008 and 4,718 in 2009 — a steady downward trend.

Similarly, the past February counts were 5,217 in 2007, 5,058 in 2008, 4,789 in 2009 and 4,657 in 2010 – also a steady decline.

Blended fall and winter student counts over a five year period show that Carman-Ainsworth’s total enrollment loss of 723 students from the 2006 to 2010. Likewise, the blended count for February and October 2011 adds up to 926 fewer students than were enrolled in CA seven years ago.

State-mandated enrollment counts are taken twice per school year — in Fall and Winter. Seventy-five percent of state aid is based on the Fall count and 25 percent on the Winter count.

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