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Valley schools enrollment is low, budget short by 75 students

While still growing, initial enrollment figures in the Snoqualmie Valley School District are lower than expected this fall. The difference is only 75 full-time-equivalency (FTE) students less than budgeted, but  it could affect the district’s anticipated revenues.

District Finance Director Ryan Stokes reported on enrollment figures to the Snoqualmie Valley School Board Sept. 22, and noted that the balanced budget the school board passed in August was balanced on state revenue for more students.

Stokes stressed that he was simply informing the board of the enrollment numbers, and was not requesting action, since it may not be necessary.

“There’s usually an uptick (in enrollment) in October,” he said. “Due to the timing of the start of school, we start a little bit before Labor Day, our September enrollment counts often fluctuate, they’re often a lot lower than our October enrollment.”

For 2011-12, the district projected serving 5,837 FTE students, and receiving the state allocation for them. September enrollment figures were 5,762 FTE students, which could result in about $300,000 less in state funds.

By school level, there are 61 fewer elementary-age students, 47 of them from Opstad Elementary School, and 22 fewer high school students than projected. At the middle school level, the district has eight more students.

“Our middle school continues to be very strong,” Stokes said, adding that enrollment is growing at every level, but is highest in the middle schools.

Washington school districts report enrollment figures to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction on the fourth day of school in September, and the first day of school in each following month. Using a formula based on enrollment and staff numbers, state officials determine allocations for each district. Historically, these allocations cover only about 65 percent of per-pupil spending.

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