ST. JOHN | It was a numbers game at Monday’s Lake Central School Corp. board meeting.
The five-member board tackled information about the official loss of students in the district, the 2013 school budget and the complicated formula for how the state will grade district schools.
Mark Kellogg, director of primary education, presented the official average daily membership count that will be reported electronically to the Indiana Department of Education.
After evaluating the ADM count taken at each school on Sept. 14, Kellogg said the official enrollment at the district’s 10 schools is 9,517.02 students.
“No we didn’t cut a student in half,” Kellogg said of the official figure. “That’s a decline of 113.98 students.”
“Kindergarten students are counted as one-half,” he said. “The decrease in cohort groups numbers coming in to kindergarten is not offsetting the number of graduating seniors.”
ADM helps determine the per-student funding schools receive beginning in January.
That many fewer students will lead to a loss of about $587,000 in reimbursement from the state, according to Rob James, district director of finance.
“Lake Central School Corporation's reimbursement rate for 2012 is $4,663 per student,” he said. That is one of the lowest per-student funding in the state.
The board approved the 2013 budget for the district and the total property tax levy and total tax rate for the Tri-Town area. A public hearing was conducted on the budget at its Sept. 17 meeting.
That budget is $87,084,417. The property tax levy approved was $36,967,620 while the total tax rate is 1.2324.
The School Board also learned that students aren’t the only ones who are graded in today’s educational system. Kellogg gave a presentation about the state's A-F Accountability program.
“It’s an extremely complex formula,” Kellogg said. “The state of Indiana will grade all schools based on students’ test scores.”
Those tests include ISTEP, IMAST and ISTAR. Students with an Individualized Education Program, including those with disabilities, must be enrolled for at least 162 days. The only exemptions are for Limited English Proficiency students who have been in the U.S. for 12 months or less, Kellogg said.
Different formulas are used for elementary schools, middle schools and high schools.
One major problem with the A-F Accountability formulas is that 25 percent of students will be at the bottom of the scoring no matter how well they do on the exams, said board member Val Lozanoski.
Provisions of the accountability formula “have us scratching our heads,” Kellogg said. “There are a lot of pieces that are moving.”