The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

October 9, 2012

Clinton enrollment figures ‘discouraging’

Schools' attendance drops by 79 students

By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — Student enrollment continues to drop at the Clinton Community School District.

Counts show the district down by 79 students from last year; a decrease that will result in the loss of $477,713 of state funding.

“The numbers sure are discouraging,” board member Jack Wenzel said. “Plus with what we’re trying to do with the district as far as moving facilities and doing different things, it’s highly discouraging.”

Clinton School District Chief Financial Officer Jan Culbertson delivered the numbers, which were recorded Oct. 1, to the school board at the regular board meeting Monday.

The school district receives $6,047 for each student that enrolls, Culbertson said.  While the district enrolled 3,635 resident students, this year 328 students chose to open enroll in other districts, up from the 299 who took the same option last year. A majority of these open enrolled students attend Camanche or Northeast.   

The number of students who open enrolled into the district was also down from 42 last year to 36 this year.

Past surveys completed by those who choose to open enroll out of the district have indicated parents or guardians want their students to attend the same school they did, or the district is closer to childcare or work.

The decline means the school district will not receive the $6,047 for each of the 79 students, resulting in the more than $470,000 loss of state revenue.  

“The news isn’t really good, but the thing is we’re not the only ones like this is in the state,” Culbertson said.

Even more dramatic was the number of preschool students, which declined by 55 students.   Superintendent Deb Olson said the decline in enrollment could be linked to the loss of services, such as the workforce and social security offices, in Clinton.  

“People have to got to be in places where they can get their resources and with the loss of those resources, we have people that are moving to larger metropolitan areas such as Davenport because they can get all their resources there. We’ll just have to go in and see what we can do,” Olson said.

Olson has begun looking into options such as offering early retirement to solve the problem that declining enrollment creates.

“We’re starting to do some of that, because I’d rather do it early than do it late. I don’t want to have to go through the consternation with our public anymore than we really have to,” she said.

The enrollment in the district fluctuates throughout the school year. The day after this headcount was completed, the district enrolled seven students, which they will not be able to receive state funding for.