Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2004

USD 232 growth rate slackens

September 9, 2004

— Enrollment in De Soto USD 232 will grow again this year, but not by as much as planners predicted.

Preliminary head counts show kindergarten through high school enrollment was 4,714 Aug. 27, a 6.7 percent increase from 4,417 students in September 2003.

Planners guessed De Soto's enrollment would jump by 398, and it went up only 297 instead.

"We still have good, high percentages," said operations director Jack Deyoe. "It's less, though, than what we had projected based on single-family home permits issued the past 12 months."

Like the past several years, De Soto's incoming classes get larger and larger as new families move into the boundaries.

This year, every grade grew from last year except the senior class. Deyoe said the most dramatic increase occurred with the youngest students.

Last year's kindergarten class was a record, Deyoe said, because it was the first to number more than 400. This year, there are more than 400 students in each class from kindergarten through third grade.

"We have a lot of young families," Deyoe said. "Where we're seeing the most influx of new people are families with young children."

Deyoe said he didn't know why this year's senior class was smaller -- 18 students fewer than when they were juniors last year -- but that it could be from transfers or moves out of the district.

Numbers in the district's early childhood program also jumped this year, increasing from 29 in September 2003 to 45 this August.

All school districts will report to the state the number of students in class Sept. 20.

The state will audit the reports and arrive at official enrollment numbers. Districts receive funding based on their audited enrollment.

Each district receives a set amount of base state aid per pupil. To figure that into the upcoming year's budget, districts must use projected enrollment numbers.

Because De Soto has fewer students than projected, the state will send less money than planners first guessed.

Deyoe said though there would be fewer funds coming in, slower growth would slightly alleviate pressure for new buildings.

For this year, boundary changes helped disperse growth more evenly among buildings, Deyoe said.

Time will show how the recent jump in home permits will affect the district, Deyoe said. Families who did move in may have fewer children per home or may have children who are still too young to attend school.

"We'll be able to get a better idea as the year goes on," he said. "Right now, it's not going to be something we're going to be able to figure out right away."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.