Columbiana school enrollment ‘encouraging’

COLUMBIANA– Superintendent Don Mook collected current data as well as data from the last year’s School Finance Payment Reports (SFPR) for Tuesday’s school board meeting to present that enrollment has been encouraging for the district.

Last year’s numbers showed that 231 students came in and 156 left the district in the 2018-19 school year. Total enrollment was 1,031 last year, which has been a consistent number over the past 10 years.

In 2018-19, the district made about $1,392,000 from students coming in and lost about $943,500 from students leaving. So, the district made about $448,500 of net open enrollment. However, every time someone leaves, Columbiana loses local dollars.

“The upside is that we have more revenues coming in from open enrollment than leaving us,” Mook said. “The downside is that of the open enrollment dollars we paid out, about $432,500 were local dollars that had to leave the district.”

Regardless of the number of students coming in or out, the district is given a fixed state revenue per pupil amount of about $3,250 for the next two years for students within the district because of a freeze on state school funding.

“When I first came to the district we had about $2,800 per student, so that has gone up,” Mook said. “The bad thing is that is the lowest number in the county.”

Based on the SFPR, Columbiana’s enrollment is about 974 students, which is a fixed number. While it’s not a true indicator of the total number of students in the district, it is the number that the state is paying for.

When enrollment goes up, the school does not get additional revenues to accommodate the change in the number of students.

Right now, Mook said that the current Education Management Information System data has shown a much higher number of students in and a lower number out. The data shows 259 students coming in and 149 students out for the 2019-20 year, with a total enrollment of 1,062 students.

Mook emphasized that open enrollment plays a crucial role in maintaining personnel.

“If we didn’t have open enrollment, we would probably lose around 14 teachers,” Mook said. “That’s significant for us to maintain our enrollment numbers around the 1,000 mark.”

As of now, the district would have a net open enrollment of $662,200, and about $411,000 would leave the district. As the numbers continue to improve, Mook stresses the importance of open enrollment.

“It gives us an idea that right now open enrollment is a positive for us,” Mook said. “It’s truly our only income coming in for this school year based on the state freeze.”


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