Enrollment jumps slightly in Bainbridge Island School District

More students than expected have showed up in Bainbridge Island classrooms this year.

According to an enrollment report completed Friday, Sept. 7, the Bainbridge Island School District has 3,631 students attending class.

The district had expected the full-time equivalent (FTE) of 3,610 students this school year.

The enrollment number is crucial, as it impacts the amount of revenue the district will receive from the state. Washington provides an apportionment of $10,013 per student FTE, so the arrival of more than 20 students in local classrooms represents a budget windfall of more than $200,000.

In recent weeks, district officials have expected to see an increase in enrollment.

At the school board's last meeting, Superintendent Faith Chapel told school board members that the student count was looking positive and officials were keeping a close eye on the enrollment numbers.

The school board met Aug. 30, which was the second day of class for most students in the district.

Chapel said officials had gotten reports from school principals over the summer that families were moving into the community.

"It did not appear we were having as many people move away," Chapel told the board.

Early enrollment counts from the district's elementary schools were also viewed as quite accurate, given that they are based on class lists.

Still, Chapel said it was too soon to celebrate.

The official enrollment count for funding purposes is done in early October.

"We want to be very cautious in our optimism," Chapel said, adding the enrollment numbers were larger than had been forecast for the fiscal year 2012-2013 budget.

"It does look like we are going to be significantly over budget," Chapel said.

"Over budget" on the enrollment figures, however, translates into more funding for education from the state.

District officials had estimated an enrollment of 3,610 students as the basis for the 2012-2013 budget, which was unanimously approved by the school board Aug. 30. The approved budget predicts revenues of $36 million and expenditures of $37.2 million.

Enrollment, though larger than expected, still falls below the numbers of students in Bainbridge classrooms have seen in recent years.

Last year, the district budgeted for 3,709 students, and in 2010-2011, officials estimated 3,818 students would attend K-12 classes.



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