Declining enrollment biggest issue for Pinconning schools


PINCONNING — The largest financial issue that Pinconning Area School District faces comes from declining enrollment, according to Brad Mason, director of business and operations for PASD.

Mason made a PowerPoint presentation to the PASD school board Monday night that discussed the current and projected financial state of the Pinconning Area School District (PASD) and also presented possible solutions to further discuss in later board and committee meetings.

Between 2001 and 2009, K-12 enrollment dropped from 2,045 to 1,538, and enrollment is dropping about 3.1 percent per year, Mason said.

PASD Superintendent Darren Kroczaleski said that enrollment decreased by 88 students between Fall 2008 and Fall 2009.

Mason said one reason for the decline in enrollment comes from a decrease in births. He said that Michigan alone has seen a 20 percent decline in births.

The largest decrease in enrollment appears in the elementary schools, with Mount Forest alone seeing a decline of 36 percent, but those percentages will eventually catch up to the high school as the elementary students advance through the school system, Mason said.

Mason said that there are a total of 11 classrooms within the elementary schools that are not being used, which means the buildings are being filled at about 60 percent capacity.

Closing down one elementary school would save about $250,000, based on the savings from the closure of Garfield Elementary in 2002, Mason said.

However, making 6th grade a part of the middle school could also be an option to cut costs, Mason said.

PASD has already cut costs by eliminating teaching and administrative positions, changing to a single bus route system, freezing staff wages, and eliminating Community Education programs, Mason said.

The PASD school board plans to continue discussing options for saving money within the district, and any major decisions will come at the end of the 2009-2010 school year, Mason said.


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