Skip to comments.LA Education Funded Based on Student Population
Posted on 10/14/2002 5:45:26 AM PDT by Theodore R.
More students mean more money for Rapides school system Emily Peters / The Town Talk Posted on October 14, 2002 Rapides Parish school officials are relieved at news that more money is on the way, and it's even more than they thought.
The Oct. 1 student enrollment count came in high for Rapides Parish schools, and more students translate into more state funds -- maybe $2.4 million more.
That offers relief to the School Board that balanced an $8 million deficit this summer by raiding $4.8 million from the reserve fund.
The Oct. 1 count revealed 22,484 students in the parish; about 680 students more than last year. In September, Superintendent Patsy Jenkins predicted growth, but not that much growth.
This year's state formula will give Rapides Parish about $3,594 per student, with exceptions for special-needs students. In that case, 680 more students in the parish means about $2.4 million more for Rapides from the state.
Half of that growth money must be equally allocated for teacher-pay stipends in May. Other school officials receive the same pay stipend in May, matched from the general fund.
School officials stress that although the official Oct. 1 count is used to determine state funds, numbers are still not set in stone.
Pre-kindergarten classes are not included in that enrollment count because they are funded from various other sources outside the school district.
But pre-kindergarten enrollments are up as well, increasing from 662 last year to about 780 for the 2002-2003 school year.
The latest black and white ratios also became evident with the Oct. 1 student count.
In the school system as a whole, 55 percent of the students are white, and 45 percent are black. "Other race" students are included in the statistics as white.
Connie Chenevert, district desegregation director, said magnet programs and transfers helped to close the gap between black and white for desegregation purposes.
The most drastic racial difference was at Peabody Montessori, which went from 3 percent white to 30 percent white in the first year of its magnet program.
The rest of the racial shifts were subtle.
"I didn't expect drastic changes this year with the brand new magnet concept, but next year I hope there will be more," Chenevert said.
She said she expects that more white students will want to transfer to predominantly black Peabody Magnet High School and the nine 3R elementary schools as word gets out about the special academic programs in those schools.
The nine 3R schools have added special staff and curriculum for an extra boost in the core subjects of reading, writing and arithmetic. Enrollment numbers increased at many 3R schools, probably because of pre-kindergarten programs.
Bolton High School has switched its racial emphasis this school year, with more white students than black. Chenevert said that is caused by multitudes of majority-to-minority and academic transfers.
"Bolton will always be one of those schools that flip-flops," Chenevert said.
However, Chenevert explained that for transfer purposes, a school is identified racially by its zoned population.
For instance, without considering transfer students, Bolton will remain a predominantly black school. That means white students will still be able to take majority-to-minority transfers into Bolton.
Emily Peters: 487-6372