Muskegon Public Schools Spring Head Count Released, Next Year’s Funding Picture Shaky

Andrew Trzaska | February 20, 2013

With the last week’s spring student count day complete, Muskegon’s board of education revealed their spring head count numbers at Tuesday’s full board meeting.

Total enrollment for Muskegon Public Schools on February 13, 2013 equaled 4,354 students. This includes alternative education and special education students.

If one breaks the numbers down into grades, 1000 students were counted at the high school, 618 students at Muskegon Middle School, and 2,639 students across the collection of Lakeside, Marquette, Moon, Nelson and Oakview elementary schools combined. The remaining balance of students exists in special or alternative education programs at the Muskegon Community Education Center (MCEC).

Muskegon Public Schools superintendent Jon Felske noted this is a slight increase among the elementary schools, a drop in the high school and MCEC, but a near wash at the middle school level.  The overall decrease from the fall count is around 35 students.

Felske painted the numbers as expected, saying that 80% of districts in the state see a loss from first semester to second semester.

State per-pupil funding for next school year on the state level appears to be up a little over 2%, according to a legislative report obtained Tuesday from the board of education meeting. However, the report states that districts may still see a net loss in funding because of increased costs or loss of special funds, like best practice funding given over the past several years.

Felske noted at Tuesday’s meeting that funding may be further strained because the state appears to be expanding K-12 school funding to further cover early childhood education while not necessary giving the pool extra dollars. 

He also noted that this K-12 fund previously has been stretched across multiple college grades.

“We all believe in early childhood education, but when you don’t bring in additional outside revenue… we’re all going to be a little thirstier budget-wise.”

Funding for the coming school year will also be differently distributed – not just around count day numbers but a new formula that factors in near-daily attendance.  Muskegon Public Schools superintendent Jon Felske argued previously that this could leave many dollars on the table for each district, because students to move between districts during a school year will no longer have that funding “travel” with them for the few days they may be between districts. Felske believes the state can just pocket the dollars lost when a student is between districts.

 

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst