District’s enrollment continues to decline

12 years ago

District’s enrollment continues to decline

By Scott Mitchell Johnson

Staff Writer

    PRESQUE ISLE — A recent snapshot of SAD 1’s enrollment shows that numbers are down for the fifth consecutive year.

    At the Sept. 12 board meeting, Superintendent Gehrig Johnson shared that enrollment news “isn’t good.”

    “As of Sept. 10, we are down 41 students district wide,” he said. “Last year we had a total of 1,878 students enrolled and we currently have 1,837.

    “We’re experiencing a steady decline … not unlike what’s going on in other areas of Aroostook County,” said Johnson.

    In 2008, SAD 1 had 2,079 students enrolled. In 2009, that number had dropped by 73 students for a total of 2006. By 2010, enrollment figures had dipped to 1,899, while 1,878 students were enrolled last year.

    “The enrollment decline seems to be centered at the elementary level,” Johnson said. “Parents with young children continue to migrate out. We’ve experienced a loss of 150 students at the pre-K through the grade 8 level in the last five years, with 13 students lost at the middle school level, and a loss of 70 students at the high school level. As a district, we’ve lost 233 students since 2007.

    “We’ve eliminated 35 positions and have lost $2.7 million in state revenue with no increase in taxes,” he said. “The last few years have been challenging and I think our school district has taken a responsible approach in dealing with the difficult issues surrounding declining enrollment.”

    Statistics show that the district has 15 more pre-kindergartners enrolled than a year ago, grade 2 has seen a drop of 29, grade 3 has seen an increase of 18 students, grade 4 is down 38 students, while the freshman class is down 18 students.

    “Basically this is a snapshot of the enrollment on Sept. 10,” the superintendent said. “The enrollment numbers change slightly every day with in and out migration.

    “Every student lost represents a $6,800 reduction in state subsidy. With a decrease of 41 students district wide, we stand to lose approximately $280,000 this year alone,” said Johnson, noting that the district plans to follow enrollment trends closely moving forward. “On the bright side, our class size ratios tend to be good.”

    Enrollment data will again be collected Oct. 1.

    The next SAD 1 board meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17 at Mapleton Elementary School.