The state of Kansas took the annual headcount in all school districts on Sept. 22 this year and Peabody-Burns Superintendent Ron Traxson said district numbers came out almost exactly where he and the school board anticipated they would.
“There were 252 students in attendance on the day we turned in the numbers,” he said. “That is about 10 short of our enrollment last year and spot on for the numbers we built the budget on.”
Traxson also said the district has added four students since that day, but because they were not enrolled on the count-day, they are not included in the 2014-15 enrollment. When the state determines how much state-aid per pupil USD 398 gets, it will be based on an enrollment of 252, no matter how many additional students might come into the school system.
“Our junior and senior classes are our largest with right at 30, but the numbers for each class after those two declines just about every year,” he said. “There are some spikes now and then, like the fourth grade this year has 26, but the smallest class in the middle school only has 11.”
Traxson said this year’s preschool group has about 20 students so they will be a good-sized group when they get to kindergarten.
“Of course the problem there is that kindergartners only count as half-day students, even though we have them all day,” he said.
Traxson said all they can do is keep an eye on the numbers and hope Peabody, Burns, and the rural parts of the district see some population growth.
“Numbers are dropping everywhere,” he said. “We are not unique in that respect. But how far they drop is what we have to be aware of when creating a budget, deciding where the funds go, and whether or not taxes will need to go up.”