By Linda Lane
A school system’s “head count” in October for the State of Michigan has a dramatic impact on a district’s funding. That’s because 90% of the funding for the year from the State is based on that October count, the remaining 10% February “head count. The State’s official head counts for school districts this year will be on October 12 and February 1.
The Schoolcraft Board of Education meeting focused on a number of statistics including budgets based on students, Schools of Choice numbers, test score data from the State, and building consolidation efforts.
Schoolcraft Community Schools budgeted for 1,044 students district-wide, a decrease of 20 students, but the final number may be slightly better than those predicted losses. During the first few days of school, the count appeared to be five students higher than the predicted 1,044.
Last year, Schoolcraft gained students in the aftermath of “Schools of Choice,” losing 81 students, gaining 194 students, ultimately netting 107 students. According to Rusty Stitt, Superintendent of the Schoolcraft Community Schools, “There appears to be an influx of students coming from Lawton and Marcellus.” Administrators are trying to understand why the district is losing students and have implemented a “Parent Perception” survey. Overall, they fared better than many school districts across the State where districts may lose 20% or more of their potential student enrollment.
The State of Michigan recently released test score data from school districts across the state, where Schoolcraft made the “Beating the Odds” list. According to the State of Michigan’s website, “The ‘Beating the Odds’ Schools are schools that given the things they cannot control, outperform schools in similar situations.”
One question posed was the level of students attending Schoolcraft in the Free or Reduced Lunch population, which has dramatically increased over the past 4-6 years. It remains unclear if the district is losing wealthier households in the switch of Schools of Choice movements of students.
In their Building Consolidation efforts, Schoolcraft invested $590,000 in capital projects throughout the buildings including: preschool and elementary improvements in classrooms, bathrooms and playground; science labs have been converted to kindergarten classrooms with an added bathroom; additional paving in front of the elementary; some new furniture; and improvements in the middle school locker room.