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Reporting Enrollment

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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
MUSA Council
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Joined: May 16 2008
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Reporting Enrollment
    Posted: Apr 12 2015 at 12:32pm

Posted: 7:30 a.m. Sunday, April 12, 2015


School districts wary about new way of reporting enrollment

By Eric Schwartzberg

Staff Writer

    School districts used to count their students for compensation for one week in October, but new state regulations that require school districts to count students every day have some local administrators concerned.

In the past, districts knew from the October enrollment counts what to expect in state payments through the rest of the year. That’s not the case under the new system, said Lakota Treasurer Jenni Logan.

    “What we have reported to them, they have not sent anything back to us to say, ‘These are the numbers that we have for your district’ for student count on how we’re funding you,’” Logan said. “Every district in the state of Ohio between July and now is being funded based on last year’s numbers.”

    That means when ODE eventually sends the actual numbers, districts may end up with numbers that are lower than they expected, Logan said.

    “And the state’s going to say, ‘We gave you too much,’ then they’re going to yank it back in three months,” Logan said. “It’s because they bit off more than they could chew. They said, ‘We’re going to start counting every kid, every day and we’re going to do it immediately.’ And now here we’re are, we’re doing our part, but we’re not seeing that happening at the state level.”

    That, Logan said, is because the state “can’t manage all that change.”

    “It was a lot of change when you look at the counting of students, all of the testing, all of the evaluation. It was too much,” Logan said. “We knew it, and now they’re proving it was too much.”

    That’s a major concern for a school district worried about Gov. John Kasich’s budget, which includes a proposed funding change that would knock $3.1 million in tangible personal property tax reimbursement for the district to just $600,000 the first year and then down to nothing the following year.

    School districts are paid twice a month by the state based on an amount calculated for the year, minus what’s been paid year-to-date, divided by the number of payments remaining in the year, according to ODE spokesman John Charlton.

    “With this new count, every kid matters every day,” Charlton said. “At the end of the year, their annual amount will reflect the actual FTE (full-time equivalent) of students for the full year.

    At the three reporting windows, ODE updates a district’s FTE with how the situation has changed from the last update, Charlton said.

    For example, a student starting in a school on the first day of the year and still there as of Oct. 31 is reported as “1” FTE.

    But say the student moves to another district in January, Charlton said. That means in the March reporting window, that student’s FTE drops to “0.5”.     When the student doesn’t move back to the district, the June reporting window for the student’s FTE remains “0.5”, Charlton said.

    “For every payment to the district, the FTE of all students is used to calculate the annual amount, and then the semi-monthly payment is determined,” Charlton said.

    ODE will not be able to determine what the year’s actual FTE will be until the end of the school year, when it has the final picture of FTE based on when students enrolled or withdrew throughout the entire year, Charlton said.

    “So there are three updates to get us closer to knowing the final picture, but we won’t be able to say with certainty what any district will be funded until the very end of the year because the final update is June 30,” Charlton said.

    Bob Hancock, treasurer of Hamilton City Schools, said based on the current state foundation funding formula calculations, the district would have to lose over 700 students in order for this year’s enrollment to come into play, “so it is not an immediate concern.”

    Hancock said it should be noted that a policy of funding school districts based on average daily membership counts conducted throughout the school year will have the effect of increasing class sizes in school districts where the enrollment at the start of the year is higher than the end of the year.

    “In Hamilton, we have an average decline of 270 students from the beginning of the school year until the end,” Hancock said. “Teacher staffing levels are set at the beginning of the school year, and we will have to take the average monthly enrollment numbers into consideration when setting staffing levels in future years.”

    Randy Bertram, treasurer and CFO for Middletown City Schools, said he is concerned about losing state aid because of declining enrollment, “but we must maintain the same staffing levels necessary to educate the higher number of students.”

    “Our costs don’t decline, but our state aid will,” he said.

Greg Young, superintendent of Ross Local Schools, said he believes he understands what the state is trying to do.

    “They’re trying to say, ‘We’ll pay you for the students you actually have and the amount of time they’re at school each day,’” Young said. “That’s the other piece of it that’s kind of new and different.”

    That means districts might be penalized if students are not there the whole day, such as when they allow seniors to arrive a period late or leave a period early, Young said.

    “The state’s not going to give you the full amount of money for those kids now based on this new way of calculating state aid … whereas in the past, if the student was there for most of the day, you still got the full amount for that student,” he said.

    Fairfield City Schools spokeswoman Gina Gentry-Fletcher said it’s typical to see enrollment fluctuate from year to year in a district of Fairfield’s size.

    “Because a segment of our community has a high transient population, we adjust our projections in anticipation of possible losses in aid,” Gentry-Fletcher said. “We can also recoup those losses through funding collected from our open enrollment program.”


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VietVet View Drop Down
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Joined: May 15 2008
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 12 2015 at 3:52pm
"Randy Bertram, treasurer and CFO for Middletown City Schools, said he is concerned about losing state aid because of declining enrollment, “but we must maintain the same staffing levels necessary to educate the higher number of students.”"
    “Our costs don’t decline, but our state aid will,” he said.

Why do they need to maintain the same staffing as if they have more kids when the enrollment is declining. Doesn't make sense. If you have less work to do, you downsize your people to accomodate the workload. All employers do that in the private sector. Why are public sector people kept on the payroll with no work to do state people?
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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chmoore1 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote chmoore1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 13 2015 at 1:59pm
VV: this is NOT for argument's sake, it's just an answer to your question. The first answer that comes to mind is that teacher staffing is set for the coming school year. It is unknown on August 15th how many students will be in a school district on May 15th. You can't have a "highly qualified teacher"---the state requirement---on a fluctuating employment status. Also, in the case of Hamilton (since it is cited), they may lose 270 students districtwide. Divide this by 15 schools (or how ever many they have) that's less than 20 students per school. This number is then divided by the number of grades, which---in an elementary is 6 or 7 (kindergarten) or 8 (Pre-K)---which is under 3 per grade, not classroom. One last thought, just because a teacher may have 1 less student in the middle of the year doesn't mean that there will be a drastic work-load reduction. Education cannot effectively be micro-managed to this degree. Always your "bud"---just 1 chmoore.
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spiderjohn View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 13 2015 at 2:12pm
someone tell me if I am wrong, but I believe the state has been over-paying due to inflated enrollment #s in a lot of places.

I believe that charter schools may have a lot to do with this. Seems some less honorable entities have been documenting a lot of students that have enrolled, but then never come to school/class. To avoid losing funding, these schools have been marking a lot of students as "present" when they actually haven't shown up much at all. I also believe that the state has caught the worst offenders red-handed, with un-announced "spot checks" that have shown falsified attendance #s by a large %. And Ohio schools have a very high rate of discrepancy(particularly in charters?).

As usual, the "cheaters" ruin it for those honestly reporting. So--the price that the schools pay. I would assume that virtually all systems start with more students that which they finish the year.

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