School district shows enrollment increase in 2017

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


Looking back on 2017, Washington Schools Superintendent Jeff Dicks said there have been many events and he is optimistic for the coming year.

Dicks said certified enrollment is always the biggest event of the new year for school districts and 2017 was no exception. He said the district showed an increase of 32.95 percent of certified enrollment. He stressed this isn?t the same as the overall number of students because it doesn?t take into account open enrollment.

?As far as kids in seats we were only up 2.75 percent,? he said. ?Our open enroll out are up 21.?

He said the district does see benefit from the increased certified enrollment. He said the district receives about $900 per student based on certified enrollment from the state?s one-cent sales tax that benefits schools. The money the state gives for the education of a student, about $6,600, is sent to the receiving district, Dicks said. Student enrollment is 1,690.

Dicks said the district is also financially seeing the benefit of the 2015 early retirement program. He said the unspent balance, the most important number in school finance is up about $2 million. He said the district is watching enrollment, which is projected to be down over the next three years and he expects the district to be financially able to sustain it.

One of the big issues is the need of school bus drivers. Dicks said the district is considering new ways to recruit and maintain drivers.

During the school board election this year, two new members were voted onto the Washington School Board.