Where did the kids go? Student count drops by more than expected at Anchorage School District

Tuesday, 14 November 2017, 01:53:29 PM. Compared to last fall, the number of full-time equivalent students at the Anchorage district dropped by about 715 this year.
The Anchorage School District has fewer students this year than it expected and administrators aren't sure exactly why. "I think everyone is trying to figure out the factors," said Jim Anderson, the district's chief financial officer. Jim Anderson, chief financial officer of the Anchorage School District (Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News) The number of full-time equivalent students enrolled in Anchorage schools this year is about 715 fewer than last year, based on preliminary numbers provided by Anderson. That's enough to fill two of the district's smaller elementary schools. The district expected its student count to decline this school year, but only by about 240. Anderson said in an interview Monday that Anchorage schools started trimming expenses in September when it became apparent that the student count was below expectations. The district put a two-week hiring delay in place, Anderson said, and started turning the lights off earlier at many elementary schools. That could save between about $1.3 million and $2.3 million by the end of this school year, he said. Anderson said it's unclear what else the district might have to do to balance its budget. The school district submitted its smaller-than-expected student count to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development last week. The number — called the average daily membership — is an annual head count used in Alaska to determine school funding. It's based on the district's average enrollment over a 20-day...Read more
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