Janesville64.7°

Janesville School District enrollment drops again

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
January 29, 2011
— The latest count shows another drop in enrollment for the Janesville School District.

Officials point out, however, that the decrease is not as steep as in previous years.


The district reports that 10,255 students were enrolled as of Jan. 14. That includes students in pre-kindergarten programs, who attend part-time.


Thatís a decline of 62 students from this time last year. It also represents 36 fewer students than in the last official count last September.


Hidden inside the overall number is the fact that 4-year-old kindergarten actually saw an increase of 12 students from this time last yearófrom 574 to 586.


Looking strictly at the kindergarten-through-12th-grade numbers, there might actually be glimmer of hope that enrollment could be stabilizing, said Yolanda Cargile, district director of at-risk and multicultural programs, who compiled the numbers.


Cargile noted that the K-12 numbers dropped by 227 from January 2008 to January 2009. The next year, the K-12 drop was 122. This year, itís 64.


ďThere are a few predictions you could make out of that; maybe fewer families are moving out than in the past,Ē Cargile speculated


One might assume that losing 62 students means the district would need fewer teachers, but thatís not necessarily the case, Cargile said.


The losses are spread out over multiple buildings and grade levels districtwide, so itís unlikely that any one class would lose more than a couple students.


However, officials will examine the numbers school by school as they plan for teacher staffing for next fall, Cargile said.


Enrollment also figures into the districtís financial calculations. It is one of a variety of factors that determine how much state aid the district will receive, noted district Chief Financial Officer Keith Pennington.


If all the other factors remained equal, these enrollment numbers would mean a loss of $135,000 in the 2011-12 budget, Pennington said.


That may seem like a small sum as the district looks to find ways to fill a $9.8 million projected budget shortfall for next year. Pennington points out, however, that school board members have looked at such numbers and equated them to teaching positions.


The district says the average teacherís pay plus benefits cost about $60,000, so $135,000 equates to two teachers plus change.



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