Archive for Friday, September 21, 2007

Virtual school spurs district increase

Brick-and-mortar establishments have more elementary, fewer secondary students

September 21, 2007


Virtual School boosts enrollment

Enrollment appears to be steady in Lawrence schools with the district gaining another boost from the Lawrence Virtual School. Enlarge video

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Lawrence Public School Enrollment 2007 ( .XLS )

The Lawrence Virtual School continued its growth and gained 172 kindergarten through eighth-grade students from last year.

In its brick-and-mortar schools, the Lawrence public school district also has 66 more elementary students than the year before, and 69 fewer junior high and high school students.

"It did balance itself out, but I thought it'd be a little bit more on the middle," Superintendent Randy Weseman said.

On Thursday, Kansas school districts conducted their state-mandated head counts, which are key in determining school funding.

In Lawrence public schools, 10,466 total students are enrolled compared with 10,297 in 2006.

The virtual school, which opened in 2004 and enrolls students from across the state, continues to drive the district's overall growth.

Before it opened, the district saw four years of decline.

Weseman said that the district does put a cap on its virtual school enrollment and that he expected its numbers to level off as more school districts form them.

Outside the virtual school, nine of the 15 elementary schools added students, including 58 at Langston Hughes, 33 at Prairie Park and 23 at Cordley.

Hillcrest has 40 fewer students, while Sunset Hill lost 24 and Pickney lost 22.

Southwest Junior High added 17 students, while the other three junior high schools had lower enrollments.

The district has worked with a demographic firm that predicted enrollment outside the virtual school would remain steady for the next few years.

"The implications of that is we probably won't be looking at building a new school, so it means maintaining what we have," Weseman said.

Free State High School has 20 fewer students at 1,206, and Lawrence High School now has 1,316, or 27 fewer students.

Weseman also said the enrollment figures were in line with the district's budget projections.

The state will audit these numbers. Administrators said Thursday's count was more accurate than the August preliminary figures mostly because school officials sorted out what students moved or enrolled elsewhere from previous records.

Head counts:

Baldwin City: 1,419 students

Basehor-Linwood: 2,201 students

De Soto: 6,077 students

Eudora: 1,428 students

McLouth: 569 students

Tonganoxie: 1,786 students

SOURCES: Area school districts


jmadison 10 years, 7 months ago

Are the taxpayers of Lawrence fully reimbursed by the state for the out of district students enrolled in the virtual school program?

workinghard 10 years, 7 months ago

Yes the district gets to count out of district students as in district students and receives the same money from the state. But I don't know if Lawrence taxpayers have to pick up the share the state does not pay. But then they probably cost less to educate than a brick and morter student. Any virtual student that did not log in and work on Wed. is not included in the count and will not be allowed to continue. This is much better than the way Bashor did it. All students, regardless of where in the state they lived had to show up at the school for one day to qualify.

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