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Local schools see mixed results in enrollment numbers

Krystle Wagner • Oct 4, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Schools counted on their students Wednesday.

About 90 percent of a Michigan public school district’s per-pupil funding is represented in the fall Count Day. Schools use the funding for operational costs such as salaries, services, programs and supplies.

A second Count Day in February accounts for 10 percent of per-pupil funding.

Here’s a look at what Count Day means for local schools:

Fruitport Community Schools

Preliminary fall count: 2,716 students

Change from last year’s student count: Down 37 students

Funding per pupil: $7,871

How does the preliminary fall enrollment impact the district’s budget? “Fortunately, we budgeted a decrease of 40 students, so we are right about where we expected to be, budget-wise,” Superintendent Bob Szymoniak said. “There is a great deal of residential development happening in our school district and, therefore, I expect that in the not-too-distant future our enrollment will begin to increase.”

Grand Haven Area Public Schools

Preliminary fall count: 6,140 students

Change from last year’s student count: Down 20 students

Funding per pupil: $7,941

How does the preliminary fall enrollment impact the district’s budget? “We are within 0.25 percent of our projection, so minimal impact on our overall budget,” Superintendent Andy Ingall said. Ingall also said the enrollment decline was anticipated by experts, based on low birth rates in the state.

Spring Lake Public Schools

Preliminary fall count: 2,484

Change from last year’s student count: Down six students from fall 2017

Funding per pupil: $7,871

How does the preliminary fall enrollment impact the district’s budget? “We budgeted for an enrollment of 2,490, so this variance will cause the district to adjust our revenues accordingly,” Superintendent Dennis Furton said. “Thankfully, our audit for fiscal year 2018 shows a positive variance and our fund balance continues to provide the security net we need should enrollment dip slightly, as it has. We have already begun to consider what strategies we may implement this year into next that would help to both shore up our enrollment and fill any revenue gaps that may occur.”

Walden Green Montessori School, Ferrysburg

Preliminary fall count: 245

Change from last year’s student count: Up 18 students

Funding per pupil: $7,871

How does the preliminary fall enrollment impact the charter school’s budget? “Our count today was just slightly less than we planned for in June, so the budget impact will be minimal,” co-interim Director Kim Bremer said Wednesday. “We continue to invest in our Montessori programming and we are fortunate to have a growing fund balance to help support future facility needs.”

West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics, Ferrysburg

Preliminary fall count: 438

Change from last year’s student count: Down 14 students

Funding per pupil: $7,871

How does the preliminary fall enrollment impact the charter school’s budget? “A drop in student count will always affect the overall budget, but our board and finance team are prepared for these fluctuations, and we are still able to deliver a high-quality curriculum with a focus on academic achievement, individual students, small class sizes and the arts integration,” Academy Director Joanna Bennink said.

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