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Archive for Tuesday, August 29, 2000

Recount finds fewer students

Decline could cost district $400,000

August 29, 2000

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A recount of Lawrence school district enrollment Monday revealed the student shortfall to be worse that previously thought.

The follow-up survey showed there were 10,337 students in the district 25 fewer than reported in the first-day headcount last week and 174 fewer than the first-day tally one year ago.

The district built a budget based on an increase of 100 students.

Interim Supt. Randy Weseman said during a school board meeting Monday night the enrollment decline could cost the district as much as $400,000 in state aid if the official census Sept. 20 is consistent with preliminary surveys. State funding is based on a complex formula that calculates payments to districts in terms of enrollments.

The district's demographic turn of events in Lawrence is perplexing, said Board Vice President Sue Morgan.

"It doesn't look positive," she said. "The longer-term problem is figuring out where they went."

Weseman said he couldn't offer an explanation at this time.

"We'll do an analysis and give you good information," he told the board.

Weseman doesn't expect that district's official enrollment to rebound to last year's total of 10,511, much less the projected tally of 10,611.

"Apparently, we are experiencing a decreasing enrollment. That is new for us," Weseman.

Much of this year's decline is at the elementary level, which fell by 145 students in the latest report. That would be the equivalent of every student at Kennedy School leaving the district.

Weseman said the enrollment shortfall could have an immediate impact on hiring. The district's finance committee will make recommendations to the board this fall about modifying the 2000-2001 budget if state funding is cut, he said.

In other business, the board:

Gave tentative approval to a one-year contract with Raintree Montessori School for use of the district's old headquarters at 3705 Clinton Parkway. Final action is Sept. 11.

Announced plans to take applications for superintendent of the Lawrence public school district until Sept. 22.

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