Portage schools drop 150 students in enrollment

2013-10-09T19:30:00Z 2013-10-09T21:27:48Z Portage schools drop 150 students in enrollment Joyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | Portage Township Schools enrollment has dropped 150 students.

Director of Finance Nicole Thorn told the School Board during Wednesday's discussion meeting that the official district enrollment is 7,664, a count taken annually on a specific day for each school district.

That drop in enrollment, Thorn said, will mean a drop in state financial support by the state of $950,000. Thorn said enrollment dropped 50 students at each of the high, middle and elementary school levels.

Superintendent E. Ric Frataccia believes it has more to do with the economy than the growth of charter schools.

Frataccia said the district looses about eight or nine students each year to charter schools. He said his guess at the decline is that families have moved from the district to seek employment. In addition, he said, last year's senior class was quite large and was replaced with a smaller class.

In other business, Director of Title and Special Service Programs Debra Dudek reported the district should hear about its Indiana Homeland Security Grant by Oct. 31. The district applied for the federally funded grant, which is a 50/50 matching program.

If the grant is received, the district will receive $49,658 from the government and have to match it with an equal local amount. The funding will be used to buy additional security equipment for school buildings.

Dudek said the district could not apply for funds to help pay for its school resource officers. That cost is split between the city and school district. The school's share was paid through a Safe Haven grant, but, Dudek said, that grant is no longer available. The Homeland Security Grant would allow only for the financing of new school resource officers, not for payment of present officers.

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