Saturday, October 2, 2010

Enrollment Soars...338 new SPASD students

The budget planning metric budgeted for 133 students over last years total.
At the infamous, "official", 3rd Friday count, that tally was actually 338, for a whopping grand total district enrollment of 6969.

Elementary enrollment is up 77 kids to 3072.

Of course, "they" will caution us all that these numbers are constantly in flux.  But the bottom line is that we have to take a number at some moment in time, and the official date to do so is the "3rd Friday" of the school year.

What does 338 new students mean?
1. For this year, the Revenue limit will be much higher than expected....meaning the district COULD spend much more (although they must raise the levy to do so...they don't get state aid for these "new kids" till next year).  The Revenue Limit is based on the 3-year rolling average that they talk about.

2. Next year, we will see more state aid as a result of the new kids.   Next year, we will average the Sept 2010 3rd Friday count with the January 2011 count, add summer students from summer 2010, and --VOILA! -- that number will be used to calculate how much aid we will receive next year.  No 3-year average....we're just basing everything on the prior year's data.  So...effectively, there's a delay in incoming aid.

3. Will the drums start beating to initiate planning for an 8th elementary school?  As soon as spring 2011?  Hmmm?

How much equalization aid do we get per student?
From this year's Annual Meeting Booklet, we received $28,791,625 in "equalized aid" last year.  This number was based on enrollment from 2008-09, which was 6165.   If you divide $28,791,625 by 6165, you get about $4,700 in aid per student. 

Now let's check our simplified projection.   Last year, we had 6631 students.  Using our simplified figure of $4,700 in state aid per student, we would project receiving $32,546,445 in aid THIS school year (2010-11).    Lo and behold, what figure do we see in the Annual Meeting booklet for state aid we're receiving THIS year? $32,393,942 .  That's pretty close for government work, eh folks?  Our estimate was high by about $150K (0.47%), which is less than the money Phil carries around in his "our dough" pants.

The bottom line is that we constantly hear about all this wizardry about these calculations and we won't have all the information until October.  Horse puckey@!  We know last year's enrollment numbers...welll...last year.   We can estimate the amount of equalized aid based on last year.   

A note of caution:
Do we have this 100.0% 'dead-on balls accurate'?  No.  we wouldn't presume to have a perfect understanding of the way things work.  We're just a bunch of nobodies here. But we're pretty darn close.  The school district of course, will just say, "that mean blog is all wrong".

But what they will NEVER do, is publicly explain to you or anyone else WHERE it's incorrect.  Why? Because this is the stuff they do NOT want anyone to understand.  They like to wave their hands and operate under smoke and mirrors like a dime-store magician.  If you understand this stuff, then YOU become empowered...and the district is not all that keen on empowering you.

If the district REALLY wanted to do a service---and we'll offer this challenge--- then they should come up with a simplified explanation of how things work.  Not a 45 minute 50 slide dog-and-pony show, mind you, but a simplified 1-2 page explanation they can post on the website.
Geee...wouldn't that just smack of community service?