Friday, September 29, 2000
Hayden Entering the school year, Hayden school officials anticipated a decrease in enrollment, but the decline is much greater than expected.
Enrollment is down 51 students and school officials are having to make changes to the district's proposed $4.1 million budget because of that.
Currently, the school district has an enrollment of 469 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Last year, the district had an enrollment of 520 students. This is the second straight year that enrollment has decreased.
Entering the school year, the district was figuring the enrollment would drop by 12 students, said Kathy Hockin, school board president.
"We graduated a large class," Hockin said. "Our enrollment has not been this low since 1994. This is going to have a horrible effect on our budget, but we are going to work as hard as we can to have a good school."
The district is going to have to cut about $162,000 out of its budget, Superintendent Scott Mader said.
The district is funded by the state to the tune of $6,000 per student. The drop does not mean, however, that the district will lose $306,000 because it lost 51 students, Mader said. Rather, the district will lose funding for 27 students this year, he said.
The state allows school districts to average their enrollment figures for four years, he explained.
"We are averaging the enrollment within the district for the past three years," he said. "The state allows us to average the years that best benefit us."
The district is averaging the enrollment from 1998, 1999 and this year, he said.
"In the 1998 school year, we had a high enrollment," Mader said of the 554 students. "That year is helping us tremendously. We do not have to take the total hit of being down 51 students."
Due to the decrease in enrollment, the district has been making cuts to its budget, Mader said.
"We are adjusting our budget accordingly," he said. "We have taken some measures to make up for the loss."
One of those cuts came in the capital improvements budget, which was sliced by $50,000, Mader said.
About $25,000 would have funded the removal of carpet and asbestos tile at the middle and high schools, he said.
The other half would have been spent on a new vehicle to replace a 1973 Suburban.
"We can hold off on these projects," Mader said.
Another measure the district has taken is a teaching position within the elementary was not filled for the school year, a savings of $35,000. The district also cut a full-time librarian position at the elementary school, saving $30,000. A library aide was hired to fill the vacancy, Mader said.
A high school resource aide position also wasn't filled at the high school. A resource aide who worked part-time last year at the middle school is now full time.
"The resource aide is spending time at the middle school and high school," he said.
The district's enrollment decline occurred at the high school and elementary levels.
The enrollment at the elementary school, kindergarten to fifth-grade, is 228 students, a decrease of 30 students, Mader said.
The high school also had a decrease of 31 students, with an enrollment of 130 students.
The enrollment at the middle school was up by 10 students, to 110, he said.
"We did not get the kids coming in to replace the students who graduated," he said.
For the past two years, the district has been averaging about 30 students entering the elementary, he said.
"Thirty looks like the norm when it use to be around 40," he said. "It concerns me that the trend lately has been 30 students. Hopefully, we will jump back to 40."
At this point, Mader does not know what to attribute the declining enrollment to.
"Every year, we expect for families to move out of town and new families to come in," he said. "Usually, it's a wash, but this year it did not work out that way."
Mader thinks he knows what would cure the district's declining enrollment.
"A housing development in Hayden could help us," he said. "To operate a good school, we need to have a stable enrollment."
To reach Gary E. Salazar call 871-4205 or e-mail email@example.com