Thursday, September 30, 2004
After several years of declining enrollments, Routt County public school officials anticipate better news when today's official pupil count passes.
Administrators in Steamboat Springs, South Routt and Hayden expect their districts to receive slightly more funding through the state's public school finance formula this year because of increased student enrollment in each district.
The increases, though mostly small, are good news for local districts, because the state of Colorado funds public schools primarily by the number of students in each district.
Routt County's largest enrollment increase is in the South Routt School District, where officials say the number of students attending district schools has increased by 15.
"We're delighted with that," Superintendent Steve Jones said. It's the first enrollment increase for the district in six years and follows a five-year period during which pupil count dropped significantly, resulting in personnel cuts and other cost-reducing measures.
Intricacies in the state's school finance formula, including a measure that provides for half-funding for kindergarten students, means South Routt will collect more revenue this year than it has in the past, but not as much as an extra 15 fully funded students would bring. Rather, Jones expects a revenue increase of about $20,000.
Dale Mellor, finance and operations director for the Steamboat Springs School District, said the school system expects to receive funding for one more student this year than it did last year. The district anticipates receiving funding for 1,891.5 students, which is almost identical to what it projected. Last year, the district received funding for 1,890.4 students. As with all districts, the funded number varies from the actual number of students who attend school because of the way the state counts pupils. This year, the Steamboat district has 1,931 students who attend its schools, including 22 who attend the North Routt Community Charter School.
In Hayden, where school officials predicted enrollment to remain level with last year's numbers, funded enrollment could increase by several students.
Hayden School District business manager Jnl Linsacum said district enrollment for funded students is down six, but an enrollment increase at its cyber school likely will push that number above projections.
District officials still are unsure of how much funding the state will provide for cyber school students, but Linsacum said she thinks those 15 students will be counted.
The state uses Oct. 1 as its official pupil count date for students.