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SCHOOLS | Enrollment decline will result in funding shortfall

Declining enrollment could result in more than a $400,000 budget shortfall for the South Kitsap School District.

Sandy Rotella, the district’s chief financial operations officer, said there were 9,577 students enrolled in December.

But the state uses full-time equivalent students (FTE) to calculate how much funding a school district will receive. For example, a kindergartner is viewed as one-half FTE.

SKSD, which retains Greene Gasaway Architects of Federal Way to project future attendance, projected the district would have 9,328 FTE students in 2012-13, which is a decrease of 79 from the previous school year. Through December, Rotella said SKSD had 9,288 FTE and “we’re losing about 10 kids a month.”

Based on that number, Rotella projects the district could have 80 fewer FTE than projected. She said the state provides each district $5,116 per student, which would result in $409,280.

Greene Gasaway Architects principal Jeff Greene, who handles enrollment projects for SKSD, told the Independent in July that he makes his projections through analyzing enrollment figures through the last six years, birth rates in the area and through data provided by the Office of Financial Management.

Rotella said several factors, including adults having children later, have contributed to enrollment declines.

But she expects the situation to improve locally. Greene, who did not return a phone call seeking comment on data updates, said in July that he projects enrollment “flat lines” this year before it increases after that. Based on his analysis, Greene said he expects the district, which once had more than 11,000 students enrolled, to grow again.

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