Student counts decline

OSCEOLA COUNTY — With state funding tied to pupil numbers, the two student count days each school year are important for district budgets.

The second count day took place Wednesday, and 10 percent of the approximately $7,500 per pupil will be credited to school districts following the numbers audit.

Numbers reported to the Pioneer are unofficial and subject to refinement as student absences are accounted for and other variables are considered.

Evart Public Schools

At Evart Public Schools, the student count on Wednesday came to 840.5. The county is 1.5 students down from the fall numbers.

Superintendent Shirley Howard said the district blends student numbers from three previous years to get their total on count days.

“It’s pretty stable,” she said. “They are not all the same kids as the fall. The ins and outs have been unbelievable, especially at the elementary level.”

With the small change in number, Howard said she has no concerns about the affect on the district’s budget.

Reed City Area Public Schools

Reed City Area Public Schools, Superintendent Tim Webster said the district dropped 15 students during its count on Wednesday, but will not have much of an affect for the rest of the school year.

“When we initially did our budget for the year, we budgeted for fewer students,” he said. “We had more than 40 more than we budgeted for in the fall. Being down 15 students is nothing to be alarmed about.”

Webster said the increase in the fall was a surprise, as the count represented 90 percent of the per-pupil funding for district.

Big Rapids Public Schools

The Big Rapids Public Schools are filled with 1,965 students as of Friday, said Superintendent Tim Haist. This number is down slightly from the fall count of 1,975.

Haist said the schools tend to lose a few students in the winter months, but overall this spring’s number is up 20 students from last year’s count.

“Any time we can retain more students is positive and means we can do more for the students,” he said.

The schools’ student count may change as it takes approximately 30 days to determine attendance at the Big Rapids Virtual School.

Chippewa Hills School District

Chippewa Hills School District had 2,056 students as of Thursday, said Superintendent Bob Grover, noting the numbers are preliminary and can adjust.

This is up from the fall count day, which had 2,043 students recorded for the district. Typically the numbers are down from fall to spring count day, so the increase surprised Grover.

“I’m hesitantly optimistic about the numbers,” Grover said. “We always just shoot for being flat from fall to winter. If we remain flat we are satisfied.”

Crossroads Charter Academy

Crossroads Charter Academy had 600 students as of Friday, which is just under the fall count of 605.

“This means we’ll have to budget carefully for next year,” said Superintendent Chris White.

Less students means less money coming to the schools. White said CCA has a healthy general fund balance, so he is not concerned. He said school administrators will have to be good financial stewards next year.

Morley Stanwood Community Schools

Morley Stanwood Community Schools has 1,185 students as of Wednesday, accounting for students dropping from enrollment, said Superintendent Roger Cole.

The audited fall count number was 1,190.

While the district is down five students from the fall, it’s still up over last spring’s number of 1,171, Cole noted.

“It’s too early to call this increase a trend,” he said. “Even though our counts are going up some, the numbers of students we drop or add in constant as a percentage.”

In Morley Stanwood, 104 students have either been added to the enrollment or dropped from it since the fall count day in October — with some students going through the process more than once. The total is roughly 9 percent of the school population.

“That’s not what we want to see,” Cole said. “That’s not good for the students’ learning.”