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CEDAR FALLS — Enrollment grew slightly in Cedar Falls Community Schools this fall compared to a year ago.

The official count taken Oct. 2 shows there were 5,321 kindergarten through 12th-grade students enrolled in the district’s nine schools, 10 more than a year earlier. Numbers had to be certified with the state Oct. 15.

Superintendent Andy Pattee said the enrollment is in line with the district’s long-term growth projections, which have led it to build a seventh elementary school now under construction.

“I would say this year it’s slightly under our projections, but the last two years it was over our projections,” he noted. “So, we’re on the trend line we anticipated.”

Enrollment at six schools increased from one to 18 students. It dropped from six to 22 students at the other three schools. The largest increase and decrease were at Southdale and Orchard Hill elementary schools, respectively.

Students totaled 2,977 at the six elementaries, two more than last year. Holmes Junior High had 10 more students and Peet had two more, for a total enrollment of 1,221. The high school, with an enrollment of 1,123, had four fewer students.

Budget enrollment went the opposite direction of the attendance count, dropping 19.29 pupils to 5,127.51.

That number is used in a formula to determine state funding levels for districts. It includes the actual students in the schools plus adjustments for those who come into or leave them through special education placements and open enrollment choices, for example. The decimal point accounts for students who are home-schooled or enrolled in nonpublic schools while taking some district or college classes.

“There’s always kind of fluctuations,” Pattee said of the decline in budget enrollment. “I think the great thing for us is we’re serving more students in our seats. Our budget enrollment doesn’t always reflect that, though.”

He added, “We’re always excited about having in-seat enrollment increase.”

Cedar Falls Schools’ largest measure of students living outside of the district did show a decrease. Open enrollment into the district is down 16 students to 314.

“I think some of that is due to the fact that we’ve closed open enrollment at the elementary level,” said Pattee, because the district is running out of room. “We’ve denied, due to space, several families that have requested.”

Iowa law doesn’t allow Cedar Falls Schools to deny an application for continuous enrollment to families that have a child enrolled in its schools and then move to another district.

Open enrollment into Cedar Falls is subtracted from the budget numbers, but then the funds are received from other districts. State funds for open enrollment out come to Cedar Falls Schools, but are passed on to the receiving district. Open enrollment out is up four to 99.6 pupils.

Other additions to the budget include students who “tuition out,” typically because they have disabilities and need to be served in another setting. That money is also passed on to the institution serving the students.

Additional funds are passed on to Cedar Falls for nonresident pupils receiving services or enrolling in the district under categories of special education, dual enrollment and nonpublic schools. Specific numbers for those categories of students were not available.


Education Reporter

Education reporter for the Courier

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