Chimacum School District enrollment examined

Sees slight increase from September to October

CHIMACUM — Chimacum School District saw a drop of 35 full-time enrolled students from June to September, but had a slight increase in enrollment from September to October.

The enrollment numbers for the Chimacum School District were presented by Assistant Superintendent Art Clarke during Wednesday’s school board meeting.

The district has seen a significant drop in enrollment since the 2014-2015 school year, which ended with an average 1,033 full-time enrolled (FTE) students. At the end of the 2018-2019 school year, the district had an average 805 FTE students, Clarke said.

Declining enrollment has been one factor blamed for a drop in funding and has been an issue in the Nov. 5 general election for a school board seat.

The FTE for the current year is calculated by the number of students registered at the first of each month. Students who registered after the first are not included in the funding until the next month, Clarke said.

The total FTE for the district in September was 773, a drop from the ending FTE of June, which was 808, Clarke said.

October showed a slight increase in FTE rising to 776, Clarke said.

These numbers do not reflect Running Start or Open Doors students enrolled through the district.

Running Start is a state program that allows high school Juniors and Seniors take classes through participating community colleges and universities that count for both high school and college credits, and tuition is covered by the state, but students pay for the remaining fees and books, according to OSPI.

Open Doors Youth Re-engagement is a program instituted by the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) as a “dropout re-engagement system that provides education and services to older youth, ages 16-21, who have dropped out of school or are not expected to graduate from high school by the age of 21,” according to OSPI.

The budgeted average of overall FTE students (including Running Start students in October, but not Open Door students) was 767 FTE, and the actual enrollment average was 792.06 FTE.

Although it is early in the year, current school board chair Mike Gould is optimistic for the future.

“I actually find a good deal of encouragement in these numbers,” Gould said. ““The table is set for a good opportunity for us.”

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].

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