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S-D Schools’ Enrollment Drops; 2015 Budget Request Up

Posted On August 22, 2014

By Mike Perleberg

school-budget-money-spending.jpg(St. Leon, Ind.) – Sunman-Dearborn Community Schools are dealing with yet another year of declining enrollment which may have a significant financial impact.

According to The Batesville Herald Tribune, interim superintendent Dr. John Williams told the school board August 14 that the school district’s attendance is around 3,470 students this year. That’s about 130 fewer than the 2013-2014 year.

Sunman-Dearborn’s enrollment has been on a steady decline since the economic recession began in 2008. The 2014-2015 year will likely mark the second straight year the corporation’s enrollment has declined by more than 100 students.

Williams is suggesting school board members hold special work session meetings to find ways to address the declining enrollment, and the lower revenue bound to come with it.

“This is not a good sign for the corporation. What this board is going to have to do is become proactive. We can’t sit here and do nothing. We are going to have to make some adjustments,” Williams told the board, according to the newspaper. “We are a big bureaucracy. We have to move slowly and progress, but we have to move forward.”

The interim superintendent said he hopes the numbers “cause some alarm” and some difficult decisions will have to be made.

The official student ADM – Average Daily Membership – count date used by the state is coming up Friday, September 12, with a second count date in February. Kids absent on those days will still be counted toward the district’s enrollment.

Fewer students will likely mean fewer dollars allotted by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance. Currently, each Indiana school district receives at least $4,280 per pupil with kindergartners each counted as half a student. The cost of Sunman-Dearborn’s enrollment decline of 130 this year could be in the ballpark of $556,000.

Sunman-Dearborn Schools’ proposed 2015 budget was approved for advertising by the school board on August 14. The proposal totals $44.76 million, according to budget notices published on the Indiana Gateway website. The request is up from $43.1 million approved last year.

A public hearing on the proposed spending plan is scheduled for Thursday, September 11 at East Central High School. The budget could be adopted by the school board as soon as October 9, then forwarded to the state for approval.

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