Monday, October 29, 2001

CPS sees numbers decline

State uses Oct. count

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Public Schools' enrollment, taken during a one-day annual count Oct. 1, shows a decline of 1,015 K-12 students from last year.

        If the 2.4 percent decline in student population holds up, the district will receive about $3 million less in state aid than it would have if the district enrolled the same number of students as last year, said CPS Treasurer Michael Geoghegan.

        Cincinnati Public's 2001-02 operating budget is $427.5 million.

        However, state funding is based on a five-day average of a count taken the first week in October and other factors.

        While the five-day count won't be finalized until January, CPS officials say the Oct. 1 figure gives them an approximate figure.

        The loss of 1,015 students has major budget implications, said spokeswoman Jan Leslie. She cited a drop in Cincinnati's birth rate and, possibly, a shift of some students to the dozen or more charter schools in the district as reasons for the en rollment drop. The district has been losing students almost every year for a decade.

        Last year, CPS' one-day K-12 enrollment count was 42,428. This year, the number was 41,413.

        Mr. Geoghegan said the state projects enrollment based on demographic trends and has already factored the decline into its funding for CPS this school year.

        The district, which is rated in “academic emergency” by the state, has been making progress in scores on proficiency tests and other state measurements. It's also transforming low-performing neighborhood high schools into smaller specialty programs.

        Ms. Leslie said the district's system of student-based budgeting, in which each school gets money from the district based on its enrollment, makes it easier to adjust where money goes.

        While total district enrollment dropped, the number of students who attend charter schools sponsored by the district increased by 126 since last year's one-day count.


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