September 22, 2014

County schools hold winter count day

By John Fischer|Staff writer
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ARENAC COUNTY — The September 2008 Student Count Day showed all three county schools having a drop off in enrollment from 2007. The numbers caught area school districts by surprise, as they revealed more drastic losses than originally thought, but all three county districts conducted another county on Feb. 11 to see if enrollments had changed since last fall.

For each student enrolled during official counts, the coordinating school receives $7,316 towards its budget for that year. Schools have another option, known as a blended count, to record enrollment for funding in October, when it sees a significant drop off in students from the previous school year – such as was the case for AuGres-Sims schools, that combines 25 percent of February’s count with 75 percent of September’s count (the student enrollment funds are distributed in October; so February’s count from the previous year and September’s count from the current year are used for recording).

According to AuGres-Sims School District (AGS) Superintendent Gary Marchel, AGS, which saw a loss of 50 students in September, faired slightly better in the February count day as it recorded 407 students – up from 400 during September’s count.

“It doesn’t help us this year,” Marchel said. “But next year we’re hoping to be fairly steady with this count. We might lose a few but hopefully not like this year.”

AGS had 50 less students than the 2007-08 school year when it conducted its September count.

Rocky Aldrich, Arenac Eastern superintendent, says the district recorded a three-student loss from its September count; a loss he says won’t affect the school very much at this point.

“It (February count) never raises an eyebrow when you have a gain or loss of a couple students,” Aldrich said, adding Arenac Eastern normally doesn’t see much of a loss or gain during the February count.

According to Jeanine Wright of Standish-Sterling Personnel Services, Standish-Sterling schools showed a 2-student decline from the previous count.

“We’re (Standish-Sterling) not too worried about the loss,” Wright said. “Next year we’re anticipating a lot lower count (already) because of the big senior class.

“There are 174 seniors who’ll be graduating and there are only 136 students in the Kindergarten and 133 in the first grade. So that tells you we’re losing 30-plus kids just due to birthrate.”

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