Archive for Thursday, September 25, 2008

Virtual school pumps up enrollment

September 25, 2008

Enrollment numbers are up again this year in the Basehor-Linwood School District.

But most of that increase is largely due to the Basehor-Linwood Virtual School.

Since the state of Kansas' official enrollment head count date of Sept. 20 fell on a weekend this year, district officials took the count Monday and came up with an enrollment of 2,257 - an increase of about 60 students from last year's enrollment of 2,197.

However, when the residential students are separated from the BLVS students, it shows that the residential count stayed nearly the same from 1,859 in 2007 to 1,860 in 2008, while BLVS enrollment increased from 338 to 397.

"Residential is really about the same," said David Howard, assistant superintendent, about students who live and physically attend district schools. "It's pretty flat, but our Virtual School is up."

The district has seen a steady increase every year for more than 10 years, especially since BLVS was introduced in 1998, but the residential count is usually up a few more students, Howard said. One of the reasons may be because a larger class of seniors graduated last year, while one of the smallest kindergarten classes came into the district this year.

Basehor-Linwood High School, at 599 students, is the only school that saw significant growth because of the large incoming freshman class with 183 students.

The purpose of the official count day is to determine funding or Full Time Equivalency (FTE) for each school district based on the number of hours each student attends school. This excludes kindergartners who are testing out the all-day kindergarten pilot at Linwood Elementary School, because the state only funds a half-day of school for kindergartners.

Several factors affect FTE such as the number of students involved in work-study or vocational programs, those students on free- and reduced-lunch and special-education students. One of the biggest discretions for the Basehor-Linwood District is determining how many hours each BLVS student is taking to see if they can be counted as a full time student.

"Until we have all those numbers, we can ballpark it, but it's not final," Howard said about FTE.

Howard said he estimates the district FTE to be about 1,800, excluding Virtual School students. State auditors will check the district's work before a final FTE is determined in early October.

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