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Archive for Wednesday, August 20, 2008

District reports enrollment gain

Rise at elementaries, virtual school offset decreases at high schools

The Lawrence School District now has a good idea how many kids will be in the classroom for the year. 6News reporter Lindsey Slater has more on where the growth spurts are and what schools are filling fewer desks.

August 20, 2008

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The unofficial numbers are in: 281 more students are attending Lawrence public schools this school year than last.

But school officials say this is just a first look at enrollment. They will submit official numbers to the state by Sept. 20, and it's those numbers that state bean counters will use to determine how much funding the local district receives.

"Elementary is up a little bit. Junior high is very steady, and high school dipped just a little bit," said Julie Boyle, director of communications for the district.

But the school that is really increasing its enrollment is Lawrence Virtual School, boasting an increase of 313 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The boost brings enrollment in the virtual school to 1,069 - nearly 10 percent of the district's 10,820 total enrollment.

"(The virtual school) led our growth for the last several years," Boyle said.

Another jump in enrollment comes in northern and western parts of Lawrence. Langston Hughes and Quail Run schools both added about 50 students this year.

"We are growing by leaps and bounds," said Lisa Williams, principal at Langston Hughes. "We did know we were growing."

The school has added new lunch tables and an extra chair to each table to accommodate the new bodies. Williams said new homes being built near the school are bringing families with children to the Langston Hughes area.

The city's two high schools both lost students. Lawrence High School's enrollment this year of 1,333 is down by 15 students from last year, while Free State High's enrollment is down 38 students, to a total of 1,165.

Another - planned - enrollment decline was reported at Hillcrest School. To alleviate overcrowding at Hillcrest, the district added English as a second language programs at Sunflower and Schwegler schools. The ability to spread out ESL students has taken some pressure off Hillcrest, where enrollment this year is down almost 85 students.

"The Hillcrest decline in enrollment was giving them a little more room," Boyle said.

Comments

jmadison 6 years, 4 months ago

How many students in the virtual school are from out of our district? How much are the citizens of Lawrence paying per virtual student from out of district?

avoice 6 years, 4 months ago

The Lawrence School District (and the taxpayers of Lawrence) are the ones who benefit from out-of-district enrollees in LVS. The State kicks in over $3,000 per school year for each student enrolled in the district. So the more out-of-district kids, the better. Also, those kids' parents continue to help finance schools in their home districts, while opting out of sending their kids to school there, so those districts also benefit. Even though they lose the $3,000+/student not enrolled, they also have less students to have to spend their resources on. They still get the tax money and get to spread it farther.As for Lawrence residents spending resources on LVS students, since there is no school building, no bussing, and minimal staff required, LVS is VERY cost-efficient for Lawrence taxpayers.

smartmomma 6 years, 4 months ago

"How much are the citizens of Lawrence paying per virtual student from out of district?"I believe the STATE provides funding for students...therefor it's more than just the "citzens of Lawrence" paying.....

KsTwister 6 years, 4 months ago

Before even reading the article my guess was for the virtual school. Go figure. If it is cost efficient then why do we pay such high taxes to 497? After all, no building,utilities,teachers,books,busing,lunches.........right.

MattressMan 6 years, 4 months ago

The state lawmakers have their heads up their rears for funding the virtual schools the way they do. I understand some funding but the same rate as a student that attends a brick and mrtar building is absurd. An enrollment increase of 218 comes out to about $650000 unexpected dollars coming into the district this year. Are they going to drop the mill levy because of this?Just think of the money they could save if they went entirely virtual. (sarcasm alert)10,820 students= over 32 million and they need more, WOW!

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