Highland News Leader

Enrollment in Highland School District is down 120 students

Ellie Hughes, left, helps Ava Griffith-Lercher, fourth-graders in Mrs. Langham’s class at Highland Elementary, save “Fred the Worm.” Also pictured, Maya Pollard works on her own Fred. Saving Fred is an edible team-building STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)activity with students using the Scientific Method. Fred, a not-so-smart gummy worm, cannot swim. His boat (a plastic cup) has capsized and his life jacket (a gummy lifesaver) is under the boat. Students must work to save Fred using only paper clips.
Ellie Hughes, left, helps Ava Griffith-Lercher, fourth-graders in Mrs. Langham’s class at Highland Elementary, save “Fred the Worm.” Also pictured, Maya Pollard works on her own Fred. Saving Fred is an edible team-building STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)activity with students using the Scientific Method. Fred, a not-so-smart gummy worm, cannot swim. His boat (a plastic cup) has capsized and his life jacket (a gummy lifesaver) is under the boat. Students must work to save Fred using only paper clips. Courtesy photo

A 4 percent decline in enrollment could cost the Highland School District about $500,000 in general state aid for next year.

A total of 2,877 students, including preschool students, were enrolled in the district as of the sixth day of school. That is 120 fewer than last year at this time. Of the 120, there were 17 fewer students enrolled in preschool this fall. The state does not reimburse funding for preschool students.

Every district is required to report a sixth-day enrollment number to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The sixth-day enrollment number is used to help determine how much general state aid money each school district will receive.

“I was hoping for level enrollment from last year, so the new number is a little surprising,” said Superintendent Mike Sutton. “The lower number is most attributed to graduating a large class, and we have a small kindergarten class coming in this year. I do not think the loss is due as much from a loss of students who have moved.”

According to the sixth-day enrollment number released by the district on Friday, there were:

▪ 159 students enrolled at Alhambra Primary (early childhood through third grade). That is up eight students from a year ago.

▪ 50 students enrolled at Grantfork Elementary (fourth and fifth grades). There were 66 students enrolled a year ago.

▪ 534 students enrolled at Highland Primary (early childhood through second grade). There were 581 students enrolled a year ago.

▪ 545 students enrolled at Highland Elementary (third through fifth grade). That is up four students from a year ago.

▪ 638 students enrolled at Highland School (sixth through eighth grade). There were 667 students enrolled a year ago.

▪ 968 students enrolled at Highland High School. There were 997 students enrolled a year ago.

Sutton said the district has seen some reduction in these numbers in recent years, “but not this significant.”

“The economic impact of losing students can be significant and will impact our ability to staff programs in the future,” he said.

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