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Archive for Tuesday, August 23, 2005

LVS gives enrollment numbers a push

District would have seen a decline if not for Virtual School

August 23, 2005

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Enrollment in Lawrence public schools is up by 164 students, thanks to Lawrence Virtual School.

If not for the 209 additional students brought in by LVS and its programs, districtwide enrollment would have declined by 45 students this year.

Growth is good for the district regardless of where it comes from, Supt. Randy Weseman said.

"It benefits our general fund when we're growing," Weseman said.

Preliminary figures released by the district Monday show the district's enrollment is 10,110 students, up from 9,946 last September. The preliminary figures are 116 short of projections.

Deerfield School saw the biggest drop, with 89 fewer students than last year due mainly to a boundary change. Quail Run, where Deerfield students moved to, saw one of the biggest jumps for elementary schools, with 49 more students.

LVS serves students, including home-schoolers, with online courses. Students in Lawrence and across the state do their work on laptops and are monitored by teachers employed by LVS. The school operates out of the old Centennial School, 2145 La.

LVS expanded this year to add high school offerings. The school's enrollment has continued to climb since the school opened. Not including high school students, it serves about 330 students in grades kindergarten through eight.

"I would likely guess that we will double our enrollment for next year," Principal Gary Lewis said.

Enrollment growth helps LVS because it enables the program to be self-sustaining, which it is, Lewis said. And growth allows LVS staff to continue developing the program, he said.

Enrollment is a basis for the district's general fund. When LVS' enrollment increases, that boosts the general fund.

It also increases the local option budget, which is a percentage of the general fund. Those additional funds generated from the local option budget benefit students across the district, said Kathy Johnson, the district's finance director. LVS is funded out of the general fund.

The district is also seeing higher numbers of students in the early grades, said Tom Bracciano, the district's operations and facility planning director.

That's a good sign, officials said.

"We're entering a period where it looks to me demographically that we're going to be growing," Weseman said.

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