The Ketchikan School District is dealing with another unexpected change in enrollment. School Board members learned about the change at their Wednesday meeting.
Ten Fast Track, or home school students, dropped out of the program since the beginning of the school year. That cuts the school district’s total enrollment, and in turn cuts state per-student allocations. Business Manager Adam Thompson said if the numbers hold, the district will get $25,000 more than budgeted in state funds. That is a lot less than the district though it would get.
“We’ve recently added two positions. It looks to me like we’re $150,000 short,” said Board member Stephen Bradford.
He was referring to two last-minute elementary teacher hires that were not in this year’s budget. The Houghtaling and Point Higgins teachers were needed because of unexpected enrollment increases in the younger grades. Those two positions add up to approximately $150,000.
Before this 10-student drop, the district thought state per-student allocations would cover most of that cost.
How will the district pay for the two teachers now? There’s $200,000 in unallocated funds. A lot of that looks like it will towards the last-minute hires.
Is it putting the district in a tight financial situation?
“It’s tight but it’s still positive,” said Superintendent Robert Boyle. “There’s nothing negative in the budget. We don’t overspend any part of the budget.”
Boyle says school enrollment this year has been a “running target.”
Also at the School Board meeting, members unanimously approved an approximately $56,000 network equipment purchase from Presidio to improve wireless capacity in Ketchikan schools.