School enrollment numbers for state not yet calculated | NevadaAppeal.com

School enrollment numbers for state not yet calculated

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer

How many students show up for class in Lyon County’s 15 schools on Friday will determine how much money the district gets from the state.

It’s the same for each of the state’s 17 school districts. Each district must designate one day within 28 days from start of school as the official “count day.”

Carson, Churchill, Douglas, Eureka, Esmeralda, Lander, Mineral, Pershing and Storey school districts have already determined their enrollment numbers.

The remainder, including Clark, Washoe and Lyon – which started later – will have their official counts on Friday.

Because all the numbers aren’t yet in, Doug Thunder, deputy superintendent for administration and fiscal services for the state department of education, had little information to discuss any trends in enrollment throughout the state.

However, counts in Carson, Douglas and Storey counties revealed declining enrollments.

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But the Lyon County School District is anticipating an increase, according to Suzanne Johnson, purchasing agent.

Last year’s enrollment was 8,016.

This year’s numbers will be available early next week after Johnson has reviewed them.

Because some school districts need time to review their numbers for accuracy, they are given until Nov. 1 to turn them into the state. Thunder said he has received numbers from one of the smaller school districts and several charter schools.

“It can take (districts) a long time,” he said. “You can imagine a district like Clark, which is approaching 300,000 students. They have to make sure they don’t have a kid registered in two different schools.”

Once the department of education receives enrollment numbers, it goes through the data and audits randomly selected schools. The figures are finalized by Dec. 1.

The department calculates its student support – called per-pupil funding – based on enrollment numbers. Factoring into the amount for each district is the number of special-education students, the size of the student body, the wealth of the area and local taxes, as well as other items. The per-pupil funding in the state’s 17 school districts varies widely.

“In Esmeralda, it’s about $9,000 in basic support,” Thunder said. “That’s because they have only 60 students and they have a lot of expenses, whether it’s one student or 100,000.”

In Eureka, after property taxes and sales taxes are calculated, per-pupil funding ends up at a negative figure.

“We can’t ask for that money,” he said. “They end up at 0.”

The state makes its first two payments of each school year – Aug. 1 and Nov. 1 – on projected enrollment numbers. The third and fourth payments – Feb. 1 and May 1 – are based on the true numbers. A final adjustment is made later in the year.

n Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.