Enrollment falls in local schools
Unified School District 464 superintendent Richard Erickson said he hesitates to predict that area growth will increase school enrollment.
"I've seen a lot of new housing development in the last three years, and it hasn't produced a lot of enrollment for us," Erickson said Tuesday.
This year's official count of 1,426 full-time equivalent students shows a drop of 40 students from last year, Erickson said.
The FTE for the 1998-1999 school year was 1,466; and for the 1997-1998 term, the number was 1,493.
Because the district receives about $5,000 from the state for each student, this hurts the district, Erickson said.
"Financially, we need 104 students just to get us back to where we were five years ago," Erickson said. "If it weren't for the income from the local option budget, we would have been in dire straits."
The local option budget is a local tax levy that raised $810,000 for the district last year, Erickson said.
This year's larger kindergarten class may be a positive sign, he said.
"Last year's kindergarten class took a big drop, but we're back to a kindergarten class of over 100 again," Erickson said. Working with lower enrollment and the resulting lower budget is a challenge, Erickson said.
"We want to continue to improve as a school district and be as competitive and attractive as we possibly can be to the people who are moving to the area."