WATERLOO — Increased enrollment at Waterloo Community Schools this fall is largely due to double-digit growth in five of its 18 buildings.
Official certified enrollment numbers released by the district show a total of 10,401 students in kindergarten through 12th grade at the schools and other specialty programs Oct. 2, 44 more than at the same point last year. School districts annually make the count on the first school day in October and submit it to the Iowa Department of Education by Oct. 15. The student numbers are used in a formula that determines per-pupil state aid for districts the following year.
Earlier this month, Superintendent Jane Lindaman announced at a Board of Education meeting the increase was 48 students based on preliminary data. The increase comes after two years of declining student enrollment.
WATERLOO — After a two-year decline, enrollment is rising again in Waterloo Community Schools.
“Last year we were down about 100 students, and this year to be up about 45 students is tremendous,” said Cora Turner, the district’s executive director of student and at-risk services. “We’re very pleased to see that increase.”
The largest increase was 80 students at Hoover Middle School, followed closely by West High School with 76 more students. Other large increases were 33 at Lou Henry Elementary School, 23 at Bunger Middle School and 17 at Irving Elementary School.
“The major increase has been at the middle school level,” said Turner. “We were actually up a total of 63 students — which is good — at our middle school level.” George Washington Carver Academy had five more students than a year ago, but Central Middle School’s enrollment dropped by 45.
Enrollment dipped by 11 students at the elementaries and by eight at the high schools. Turner saw those small declines as positive news that students are staying in the district “and completing their education in Waterloo Schools.”
In the district’s 11 elementary schools, enrollment declined between 13 and 31 students at three schools and between one and four students at four other schools. Along with the higher growth at two schools, Kingsley and Lincoln elementary schools each had an increase of three students.
West’s increase was offset by declines of 44 and 42 students at East and Expo high schools, respectively. A range of smaller alternative offerings allowing students to take classes online that are lumped together by the district and labeled “other programs” had 13 fewer students. The middle and high school Education Discipline Programs had three fewer students. Graduation Alliance, a new program where the district contracts with an outside provider to help students complete their diploma, had 18 students.
Budget enrollment also grew for the district, rising by 45.07 pupils to 10,878.82. The decimal point accounts for students who are not full-time, such as home-schooled children taking a class through the district.
Numerous adjustments are made to the actual number of students attending classes in the district to arrive at the budget enrollment.
Among those adjustments are district students educated elsewhere through open enrollment or because of special needs and other designations. Some of those designations are for home-schooled or private school students who take a class through the district. Those students are added to Waterloo’s count, but when they are educated elsewhere the state per-pupil funds are passed on to that district.
Turner noted that open enrollment out of the district declined by about nine to 314.3 and tuition out students dropped by 10 to 23. Open enrollment into the district was virtually unchanged at 30.3 students.
Open enrollment into the district as well as special and regular education tuition is subtracted from Waterloo Schools’ numbers. Those funds come to Waterloo through the students’ home districts.