Unofficial Numbers Show Muskegon Public Schools With More Students Than Expected This School Year; Official Count Day Approaching

Andrew Trzaska | September 21, 2011

According to unofficial comparisons provided by Muskegon Public Schools at Tuesday’s full board meeting, student enrollment in the county’s largest district is currently down a little over 2%, a smaller drop than the district anticipated for the year.

According to documents provided by the Superintendent’s Office to the school board at their full meeting Tuesday, student enrollment on September 19 was 4763 students, which is down from the closest comparable day last year, September 17, 2010, when the district’s head count noted 2877 students in the district.

The gap in enrollment appears to be shrinking as well; unofficial head counts done on September 10, 2010 and September 8, 2011 indicated a 177 student loss, a drop of nearly 3.7%.

According to Superintendent Jon Felske, the district originally anticipated 4671 students for this school year. This makes the unofficial head count only about 55% of the total loss that was expected.

Superintendent Jon Felske did not celebrate these statistics, yet showed confidence in being ahead of expectations.

“We’re cautiously optimistic, we like where we are,” said Felske. “Though it’s a drop from the numbers last year it is not as far down as we though it would be.”

Fewer students mean fewer federal dollars for any public school district, which can mean fewer teachers, staff services, and activities as future budgets are assembled.

An official count of enrolled, attending students in the district will occur on Wednesday, October 5.  Attendance records both before and after the 5th will be factored in as well, including if a student is not present on that day for extenuating circumstances.

Felske stressed at the meeting to students and parents that consistent attendance is important with or without the count date coming:

“You have to be there before the count day, and you have to be there on the count day, and be there after the count day.”

The district’s own count may be ready by the end of October, but true, official numbers will not be available until 2012, as the MAISD will conduct their own count later in early December.

Andrew Trzaska

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