Enrollment topic of discussion at board meeting
The first discussion this year on declining enrollment in Lake Tahoe Unified School District will take place at 5 tonight.
The district has experienced several years of declining enrollment, a phenomenon that creates an excess of class space and a loss of state funding.
Based on preliminary numbers, district officials expect a loss of more than 200 students. California provides $4,746 to school districts for each student based on average daily attendance. Figures this year project a loss near $900,000.
School officials have been gathering information on the enrollment decline. The district will look at figures from the past four years and will use a computer program to estimate enrollment figures in future years, said Diane Scheerhorn, superintendent for the district.
“We’re just going to look at the facts (tonight),” Scheerhorn said. “We’ve been working on this for several months.”
No action will be taken, but discussion will include possible future enrollment losses and the effects on average daily attendance, classroom space, staffing and programs, Scheerhorn said.
The trick is to survive decreases in enrollment and funding by staying fiscally responsible and continue to provide excellent education, Scheerhorn said.
Before the board of education addresses declining enrollment, principals from the district’s seven schools will discuss their goals for this year. The goals will then be boiled down to about four for the district to address. The end result will be alignment for the seven schools, Scheerhorn said.
“We will come to a consensus on three to four main areas,” Scheerhorn said. “To really do something well and to seize success you need to really focus. If you try to do too many things, you’re more than likely not going to be successful.
Last year’s goals included assessment, literacy, technology and parent/community involvement.
Besides using state test scores, the district mainly uses in-house literacy assessments, said Barbara Davis, assistant superintendent.
“It really deals with how an individual child performs,” Davis said. “Life is not a multiple choice test.”
A technology report sent in the spring won state approval. It included items such as improving the school district’s Web site and a student tracking computer program.
Parent/teacher conferences and attendance for a school’s open house are ways to investigate parent involvement, Scheerhorn said.
In other school news:
The Lake Tahoe Community College Board of Trustees will meet tonight at 7:30 to discuss items, including a planning report for financial aid and the selection of an architect for the library project.
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