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South Kitsap School District enrollment soars, falls

After climbing to only six students below its budget prediction in October, South Kitsap School District’s enrollment fell again this month to hover at almost 55 fewer than expected.

At the school board meeting Monday, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Support Services Terri Patton said the decline was a “typical November pattern,” and her office would continue to keep a close watch on student numbers, as they dictate state funding amounts.

Patton’s 2003-04 budget predicted a 1 percent — or a little more than 100-pupil — decline in student enrollment, but September’s count showed enrollment was down more than 2 percent, or 128 less than the 10,589 expected.

This potentially affects the district’s budget because the state funds the school district $4,000 for each FTE student, which amounts to $220,000 for 55 students.

However, at the time Director of Business Services Marcia Wentzel said the decline would not necessarily translate into budget deficits.

“Our funding is based on an annual average enrollment,” she said. “The enrollment decline is not catastrophic — unless it continues to decline.”

In October, the trend reversed and enrollment numbers shot up to 10,583, only six students shy of predictions, but fell again this month to hit 10,534.

South Kitsap’s decline in students matches the prediction last year by a consultant commissioned by the district who said enrollment will fall sharply over the next few years, due mostly to traffic constraints and an aging population.

Last year, the district’s enrollment decreased by 88 students.

Also on Monday night, the board Monday night unanimously approved a change to the real estate purchase and sale agreement entered into with McCormick Land Development Company on April 24, 2003 to purchase a 56-acre plot near the intersection of Old Clifton and Feigley Roads, for which the district will pay $1.4 million dollars and trade in a 20-acre site in the same area purchased from McCormick LC in 1999.

At the time, Patton said it will take a year and a half before the deal is official, as a feasibility study will need to be completed — required whenever school districts buy property — and several improvements will have to be made to the site.

The sale agreement is contingent on McCormick LC vacating the current Feigley Road, replacing it with a new road and building an off-site stormwater system, all at the company’s own expense.

Previously, the contingency period for completing the road vacation and other adjustments ended on Nov. 12, but the recent addendum approved extending that period six months to May 12.

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