School district sees unusual amount of older students returning

Posted: Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Juneau School District's enrollment figures submitted to the state are down slightly from the amount they budgeted for, due in large part to the number of older students re-enrolling in the district.

The district budgeted for 5,036 students prior to this school year. Since school began, there have been 5,003 students attending. However, the state will only fund 4,983.4 of those students (the partial number is because some students aren't full time), since students who are older than 19 years old are not accounted for in the state's funding formula.

That means JSD has to find other ways to pay for the education of about 20 students, a cost of approximately $412,000.

Kristen Bartlett, communications director for JSD, said there were enough funds left over from last year to cover the shortfall.

"This is sort of one-time available funds we can use," she said. "So, it's basically the savings we had last year. So then moving forward, we'll have to take all of this into consideration when we're building next year's budget."

However, having a large number of students who age out of the state's funding formula is unusual, Bartlett said.

"I was asking David Means, our administrative services director, (and) he said in the past we would have between one and four of those students, so it really didn't have an impact. This year we had an unusually higher number that (who) are older."

Even without those students in the official enrollment figures, the district's enrollment is relatively steady. In 2006 the district had 5,237 students, in 2007 there were 5,155, in 2008 there were 5,073, in 2009 there were 4,973 and in the last fiscal year 5,007. Those are official figures reported to the state and do not include the older students.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at sarah.day@ juneauempire.com.



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