Enrollment decline shows no signs of stopping

Staff writer

Dismal news was discussed at the Peabody-Burns school board meeting Monday night. For the second year in a row, student enrollment has decreased.

“In 2011 and 2012 we had over 300 students in district. This year we’re down 40 kids,” Superintendent Ron Traxson said.

Larger classes are graduating, but smaller classes are coming in, he said.

“Most of our students are in middle and high school,” he said. “For some reason we don’t have the youngsters coming into the elementary school.”

The drop is expected to continue over the next few years.

“We’re looking at a 10 student-per-year drop,” he said.

This could equal as much at $150,000 in lost money for the district this year and $100,000 next year.

“Anytime your enrollment drops you lose the opportunity to bring in money. It affects facilities, staff, everything,” he said.

He said the board was preparing for the future funding drops.

“We’re evaluating how to adjust to deal with smaller numbers,” he said. “We’re evaluating programs and facilities. Cuts have been made., and they include staff.”

An aid for a high school automotive program was cut. Sharon Matz was hired as part-time art instructor to replace the full-time teacher Kerry Czarnowsky. The art program also was cut from kindergarten through fifth grade.

“We don’t like it, but we’ll have to learn to live on less,” Traxson said.

In other business:

Students will start their day at 8 a.m. rather than 8:30 a.m. Their day will consist of seven, 52-minute periods with a 20-minute lunch and a 30-minute homeroom.

A family fun, food and fitness grant of $250 was awarded to the elementary parent teacher association to use for an October fun night.

A student was granted early graduation to start working toward a degree in nursing this spring.

The next board meeting will be 7 p.m. Aug. 12.

 

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