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Enrollment falls slightly below projection | Schools

South Kitsap School District’s initial enrollment report featured 19 fewer students than the 9,328 its officials projected when it completed its budget this summer.

That could be problematic as school districts typically lose students as the school year progresses, but the district’s chief financial operations officer, Sandy Rotella, sees a couple of reasons for optimism.

“We think we’ll be pretty close to our budget projections, probably a little below,” she said.

The other relates to SKSD’s new Hope Academy credit retrieval program, where Rotella said district officials anticipate more high-school students enrolling.

Districts statewide calculate enrollment numbers each month and are funded by the state based on their 10-month average. Rotella said she projects SKSD to have 35 students fewer than projected by the end of the school year. Based on her figures, the district receives $5,100 per full-time equivalent student from the state. That would result in $178,500 less in state funds than SKSD anticipated, but Rotella anticipates the districts being able to close that deficit.

While the district had fewer students than anticipated, that was not the case everywhere. Rotella noted that youths often arrive in “neat bubbles,” which requires adjustments based on SKSD’s labor contracts stipulating limits on class sizes. Because of that, SKSD assistant superintendent for human resources Greg Roberts said that a half-time kindergarten teacher was added at Sidney Glen, while a full-time kindergarten instructor was hired at Olalla. First-grade teachers also were hired at Sidney Glen and Sunnyslope.

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