2018-02-25 / News

STC schools discuss decreasing student count numbers

By Mandilee Hecht
Staff Reporter

ST. CHARLES – During the last regular meeting of St. Charles schools’ board of education on Wednesday, Feb. 21, a financial report was given by finance director Courtney Traver in which she discussed an upcoming amendment to the district’s budget.

Traver indicated during the recent student count day on Feb. 14, the district had 25 students less than originally anticipated, which will cause a need for a budget amendment of around $81,000.

She also warned against the possibility of a tighter budget for the district, as student numbers may continue to decrease.

“We currently have the highest student counts in grades eighth through 11th. As these students move along and graduate, the student numbers will continue to decrease,” she said.

“We’re going to have a bigger challenge moving forward. It’s going to be a challenge over the next few years,” Traver said.

District Superintendent Mike Decker noted how different programs and extra staff has moved the district forward academically. “Unfortunately, it comes at a cost,” he said. “We’re working on it and we’ll continue to work on it,” Decker said.

Traver reported that the district has had a loss of 255 students in the last 10 years. It now sits at a total of around 900 students, she said.

Decker noted the importance of finding the “what, where and why of student loss.”

The board discussed possible reasons for decreasing student numbers including loss of jobs and/or businesses in the area, and the culture of virtual students and schools.

Traver said regardless of virtual students the district is still decreasing student count numbers every count day.

“We’re losing 12 of our own (students), minus virtual students, every count day,” she said.

The financial director also expressed her concern with ensuring a balanced budget moving forward and also “staying out of the red” as far as the budget is concerned.

After the meeting, Decker told the Citizen “Whenever there is declining enrollment, virtual and/or brick and mortar students, it means the district has to ‘right size’ to match the decline. The loss of virtual students, at semester, is not new to us.”

The budget amendment is set to go before the board during its next regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school library.

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