Enrollment in SKSD less than expected

September's projected enrollment number came in a lot less than expected, according to figures released on Monday by the South Kitsap School District.

Enrollment data shows 123 students less than the projected September budget target of 9,467. Based on the September budget target, all elementary schools have 32 less students and 91 less in the junior and high schools.

Superintendent Michelle Reid said Tuesday with 123 less students, the district would lose about $700,000.

“We didn’t expect to be down as much as we anticipated,” Reid said.

On the first day of school, the district reported 9,439 students, but has continued to decline since. There was 9,345 reported on Sept. 5 and 9,325 on the fourth day of school.

Monday’s enrollment figures show three elementary schools — Orchard Heights, Mullenix Ridge and Sidney Glen — have more than the September target. Orchard Heights has 28 more students, while Mullenix Ridge and Sidney Glen have 22 students more each. There are 4,792 enrolled in the 10 elementary schools.

At the secondary level, Marcus Whitman Junior High has 11 students more than the budget target, while John Sedgwich has 43 less than the target and South Kitsap High has 91 less.

Reid said in many cases, particularly at the junior high and high school levels, families move without notifying the school.

“The students simply do not show up and then staff begin calling home to find out if they are coming.Often this takes several days to track down rather or not they are really coming back,” said Reid. “The students are then withdrawn from the rosters and so the enrollment drops.

Because of the uncertain ending fund balance from 2012-13, Reid said some staff have been reassigned and other teachers without an assigned classroom have been moved.

She said the projected ending fund balance is $4.7 million, which includes inventory and grants. The district has a $95.6 million budget for this school year.

“We actually have money in two categories (committed and unassigned) that we can spend,” Reid said. “We are hoping those come in better than in the last several years.”

Reid said the district is meeting its contractual obligations and commitments with employees.

“It’s challenging, but that is the commitment we had in bargaining and we’ll keep our commitment,” she said.

Reid added she’s impressed with the staff’s morale.

“I have been impressed with the ‘can-do’ attitude of the people here,” she said. “Everybody is rolling up their sleeves and saying, ‘What can we do to help?’ and ‘We want this to work.’ It’s a great team attitude here.”

Reid said the district will continue to monitor class sizes and allocate teachers where they see the highest need to support student class load.

“We are working hard to realize the lowered class size expectations of the new teacher agreement,” Reid said.

She said she will monitor, adjust and post class lists until the district has completed the staffing for the coming school year.

“I am confident that we’ll have all students in classrooms with an acceptable class size and with an incredible teacher focused on their teaching and learning needs,” Reid said.

The superintendent said the Citizens Budget Review Committee will be reconfigured and the district is looking for volunteers who are willing to serve.

“We need to start the work for a three-year budget plan and we’re looking for community residents who are willing to give up some time and to help support us,” Reid said.


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