The decrease in students is greater than what the Iowa Department of Education had projected for the district.

Certified enrollment numbers are in for the Burlington School District, and the drop is greater than the Iowa Department of Education projected.

Business Director Greg Reynolds told Burlington School Board members Monday the district's certified enrollment, which accounts for students enrolled in the district as of Oct. 1, for the 2018-19 school year is down by 122.8 students from last year.

The loss in funding from the drop won't be seen until next year as school districts receive per pupil funding based on the previous year's enrollment.

"In the long run, that means we'll be down over $827,000 in revenues for the following year," Reynolds said.

The drop was greater when looking only at resident students, of whom there are 155 fewer this year than in the previous year.

"That's the real representation of the dollars we have to work with, because the state, as you know, the open enrollment funds, it's just a pass-through," Reynolds said. "You see those funds and that money just goes back out. So when you look at the resident students served being down 155, that means we are truly down $1,000,045 going forward."

Reynolds pointed out the decrease in students is greater than what the Iowa Department of Education had projected for the district based on birth rate trends, which first was 75 fewer students before it was updated two months ago to 94 fewer students.

Instead, there 100 fewer elementary students and 57 fewer high school students, though there are two more middle school students.

The district also saw increases in both open enrolled out and open enrolled in students, with 32 more students open enrolled out of the Burlington School District, with 708 resident students enrolled in another district as opposed to 676 last year. There are, however, 90.6 non resident students open enrolled into Burlington schools, up from 73.8 last year.

"The open enrolled out may have 32 more students. However, based on certified enrollment, there's another 90 students that just aren't in our district," board member Marlis Robberts said. "Either they don't live here, they've moved, something. They're just gone from the district."

Board president Bryan Bross pointed out it may not be only that students moved.

"We don't know that they moved. They might not have been born," Bross said.

Reynolds said it is a combination of the two.

Preschool, which is funded separately, is down 13 students to 171. Though it will not impact the district's general fund directly, the decrease could mean a smaller kindergarten class next year.

'RIGHT-SIZING' FEEDBACK

Melissa Carlson, a sixth grade science teacher at Edward Stone Middle School and a mother of three children, urged board members to review research on middle school configuration before making a decision about realigning the district. Edward Stone and Aldo Leopold Middle Schools now serve sixth- through eighth-graders, but options the board is considering would put either fifth- and sixth-graders in one building and seventh- and eighth-graders in the other, or house fifth through eighth grades in both buildings.

"Middle schools were created to benefit students going through puberty, the growing years of 11 through 14 years of age, their brains and their bodies are growing the fastest they've ever grown since infancy," Carlson said. "We need to be aware of that and treat them in the environment they deserve to be in."

She also brought up the fact the reconfiguration would create more transition years for students, which test scores have shown to be more academically difficult.