By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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Because of an unexpected stabilization in enrollment at the district schools, which had been steadily declining for a decade, there is a chance the district will not need to eat as far into its savings as predicted earlier this year, Superintendent Jane Pryne told the Port Angeles School board.
A $275,000 shortfall was predicted for the 2012-2013 school year, which the district planned to take out of its reserves.
In the district's final student count, made June 3, it showed that the district had 28 more students than were expected in 2012.
The district ended the year with 3,432 full-time enrollments in kindergarten through 12th grade — 28.88 higher than the district had budgeted, Pryne reported.
For each “full-time enrollment,” or FTE, the district currently receives about $5,300 from the state, with the increased enrollment adding about $150,000 in state funding.
Kindergarten students in half-day classes are considered to be half-time FTE, and high school students who attend for part of the day, such as seniors who only need four periods of class per day to meet their graduation requirements, are counted according to the number of hours they are in school.
The largest and least-expected gain of students was at the elementary level, where the district counted 1,740.07 FTE, compared with 1,714.97 in June 2012, an increase of 25.10.
It represents 43.69 more than was expected in the 2012-2013 budget, Pryne said.
Stevens Middle School lost 35.86 FTE and ended the year with 568.47, compared with 604.34 in 2012 — but 19.82 above expected enrollment.
Smaller classes from elementary schools are projected to enter Stevens in future years, and the last of the large classes at the school — those with more than 300 students — enter the high school in 2013-2014 school year.
A group of 282 sixth-graders is expected to replace the 307 eighth-graders who will move to the high schools this fall.
High school enrollment, with Port Angeles and Lincoln high schools combined, fell by 34.37 FTE, finishing the year at 1,123.51, compared with 1,157.88 in June 2012.
That represents 34.63 fewer than the annual budget.
The high school enrollment is expected to grow when the 307 eighth-graders move to the high school in 2013-2014.
The unusually small Class of 2013, which had only 254 students, was one of the smallest classes the district has had.
North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center enrollment fell, ending the year at 127.14 FTE compared with 140.35 in June 2012 — under budget by 7.86.
Running Start enrollment dropped to 60.39 FTE compared with 67.99 in 2012.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at email@example.com.