By John Rohlf
Herald Staff Writer
GOOSE LAKE — The Northeast School Board discussed possible increases in faculty due to differing class sizes according to preliminary enrollment projections for the 2015-2016 school year at a special board meeting Wednesday.
Overall, the district estimates enrollment will increase by four students to 877 total students. Despite the increase, they have seen a decrease in open enrollment applications from 59 applications for this school year to 56 applications for this school year. The open enrollments from Clinton are expected to increase from 26 to 36 students. They also have received three applications for open enrollment from Camanche.
The current anticipated enrollment indicates that the district expects to have 66 students in fourth grade. With only two teachers currently assigned to teach fourth grade, the school district is looking at adding a third teacher or there would be 33 students in each class.
Superintendent Jim Cox also mentioned the possibility of adding a teacher in first grade. The school district currently estimates having 59 students in first grade in 2015-2016. There are 2.5 teachers in first and second grade this school year. Cox warned the board that it should be careful when deciding whether to add an additional teacher, stating that they want to make sure the numbers will remain high so they have the need for the teacher.
“This is where you could at this particular point in time be letting teachers go,” Cox said. “Because if those numbers don’t continue, OK, someone’s going to be bumped out if we don’t need that extra section. That’s why I said what I did. Right now it doesn’t look that way but I know how things happen.”
Even with the projected increase, Cox warned the board against making decisions to soon.
He said he has had an experience with hiring a teacher too soon and then not needing them due to decreases in enrollment. He suggested waiting until it is closer to the start of next school year before deciding whether to hire another teacher.
“I’ve always preferred waiting until just before school starts to do it because I have been burned before,” Cox said. “I hired a teacher and ended up with 20 less students than what I really had so once you make that commitment it’s done.”
The board also held a public hearing and voted on the published budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
The published budget allows the school district to tax up to $15.17 per $1,000 taxable valuation. The district can always lower the tax but by approving the budget cannot tax more than $15.17.
Herald Staff Writer John Rohlf can be reached at email@example.com.