Richland School Board October 16th Meeting

Enrollment in the Richland School District is down. Last year’s total three year running average for aid purposes was a full time equivalency 1433 compared to 1430 this year, or three FTE students. Richland District Administrator Jarred Burke told members of the school board that if the trend continues, it will certainly be a concern.

The official third Friday DPI pupil count for the Richland District is 1435 compared to 1494 last year. The district estimate was very close. District officials estimated 1430 students, just five less than than the DPI count. The FTE DPI count is 1395 compared to 1449 last year. Burke said that the three year running average helps cushion ups and downs, but if the downs continue, there will be additional challenges. The three student FTE decline had virtually no aid impact this year since the district is allowed a declining enrollment exemption for the difference. If the district gains students in the next year, there will also not be a an impact, but if there is a continuing decline, that’s when the negative impacts would be seen in the district budget.

210 resident students opted to enroll in different school district this year; while 65 students chose to open enroll in the Richland District from an outside district. A year ago, the number of outgoing students was less at 181 and incoming enrollments were also less at 61. Jarred Burke said that open enrollment numbers are difficult to predict given that the exception process runs throughout the year and the regular open enrollment process covers three months. Burke said that the district regularly communicates to try and learn factors that lead parents to chose a different district for their child through the open enrollment process.

The school board meeting was held Monday evening, October 16th at Jefferson School. Building Principal Stephanie Moore led a tour of the new spaces made possible by the referendum. Moore said that the renovations have been very well received and are working well. The tour also afforded the board and guests a chance to see alternative seating and classroom arrangements designed to help a variety of students better adapt to the classroom. Moore also said that the renovated playground has been appreciated by the students. Stephanie Moore also shared highlights for the start of the school year at Jefferson. New initiatives include a “student of the week” as a part of the Points of Pride. Students are being challenged everyday to be responsible, be safe and be respectful. Moore complimented the Jefferson School Staff for its work and commitment and also had words of praise for the PATT, Parents and Teachers Together at both Jefferson and Lincoln. Jefferson students have had a chance to be a part of walking field trips to various points in the city including the first graders who have participated in a STEM program at the Brewer Public Library.

The board approved the purchase of a 2017 Dodge Caravan from Fillback Ford; approved the snow plowing specifications and time line which will be advertised in the Richland Observer and Shopping News. Bids will be due back to the district office by noon on November 1; contributions from Bailey Paint and Decorating, Wal-Mart and Walsh’s Ace were accepted for a Doudna Rocks Garden. The projects was spurred by Doudna teachers seeking a way to bring color to the school, celebrate the new entry addition and allow each child to contribute to the school and community; and bus routes were approved for the year.

Richland School District Business Official Kathy Stoltz updated the board on changes that have been made to the budget since the annual meeting in July. The changes are the result of updates in staffing and transfers that caused changes to salaries and fringes. In addition, with the third Friday pupil count official, the audit completed and confirmation of several items from the state, the board got a glimpse at what the final budget may look like prior to it being finalized on October 30th.