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Chippewa Valley Sees Boost in Enrollment, Utica Stays Level, L’Anse Creuse, New Haven Report Drops

Count day, which determines state funding for school districts across the Michigan, was Oct. 3.

Fall count day results were mixed in Macomb Township, with Chippewa Valley Schools reporting an increase in enrollment, Utica Community Schools staying relatively level and both L’Anse Creuse Public Schools and New Haven Community Schools seeing decreases.

Count day, which is held once in October and again in February, dictates the amount of state funding public schools receive relative to the number of students who attend on those particular dates.

The formula for funding was changed last year, and a district's fall count day attendance now counts for 90 percent of the state’s per pupil funding, up from 75 percent the year before.

For Chippewa Valley, which saw an increase of about 200 students over its fall 2011 numbers, this will mean an additional $700,000 in revenue from what the district anticipated when it made its budget in June.

“We did a little better than we thought with student enrollment this fall,” said Diane Blain, Chippewa Valley Schools director of school and community relations. The increase in enrollment brings the district’s total student population to 16,517, though these numbers are unaudited and may change slightly before being finalized.

Utica Community Schools now boasts a student population of 28,839, which is less than a percentage point decrease over last year's totals.

"Our enrollment is stabilizing as we begin to see more families moving into our community," said Tim McAvoy, district director of school and community relations. "A very positive sign is an approximately 60 student increase in the projected number of kindergarten students."

With so little change in its student count, the district can expect state funding to stay on par with the previous year.

On the north and east ends of the  township, L’Anse Creuse and New Haven saw their numbers fall. Although the loss was about 183 students in L'Anse Creuse, Superintendent Jackie Johnston said this decline was expected.

“We anticipated a drop in enrollment due to state-wide lower birth rates and our comprehensive budget process accounted for this decline,” Johnston said. “We are therefore committed and positioned to continue to provide a quality educational program to the students in our community.”

The total student population in L’Anse Creuse is now 11,644, according to estimates. Kelly Allen, director for public and community relations, said the district has attributed the decline partly to the graduation of a large senior class in 2012 and lower kindergarten enrollment in recent years.

But what this decrease would mean in terms of lost revenue for the district is still being calculated.

New Haven recorded a student population of 1,391, which is slightly down from last year. Recognizing that many families moved from the district due to the economy, Superintendent Keith Wunderlich said the district budgeted for 35 fewer students, but should do better than projected in terms of lost revenue.

Chippewa Valley continues to crunch its numbers as well, but Blain said despite the revenue increase, the district still expects to have an operating deficit next year. The extent of this deficit has yet to be determined. 

Districts across the state will receive their 2012-13 allocations based on blended counts from February 2012 and Oct. 3. Attendance on the February date counts for 10 percent of a district's per pupil funding.

As a result of changes to Section 25 of the State School Aid Act, school districts will now be able to collect state funding on behalf of students that were counted by another district on the count day and transfer after the count day.

For every day these students are in attendance, districts will receive a daily prorated amount of state aid. The district which counted the pupil on the count day will have its state funding reduced proportionately.

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