October 21, 2014

Student count numbers still trending down in area

Arenac Eastern breaks even

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ARENAC COUNTY — Fall student count day was Wednesday, Oct. 5 and area school districts saw mixed results.

While some districts budgeted for a loss in students, other districts broke even compared to last year’s results.

Arenac Eastern Schools

Arenac Eastern Schools Superintendent Bill Grusecki said the district budgeted for a total of 270 students, and that what they got.

“It’s just good news that we did not lose any numbers,” he said. “I have been hearing a lot about districts all across the state losing students and we were able to break even.”

Grusecki said the district did what it could to be certain that students were in the building during count day.

“We let the students know how important it was for them to be here,” he said. “We even had ice cream donated for the students who came.”

Grusecki said it is hard to speculate what future counts may look like for Arenac Eastern.

“Right now we do not know what is going to happen in the winter,” he said. “I don’t want to speculate about how we may or may not lose students. We will just have to see where we are at when we get to that point.”

Grusecki said he does anticipate losing a few students by this time next year.

“We have been averaging around 18 kindergarteners each year and we currently have 30 seniors for 2011,” he said. “So I do anticipate losing a few students.”

Pinconning Area Schools

After budgeting for a loss of approximately 50 students, Superintendent Michael Vieau said Pinconning Area Schools is down around 20 students, for the 2011-12 school year.

“We still have 30 days to count some students who were not here for count day or add any additional students but it looks like we are coming in at around 20 students less than last year,” he said.

Vieau said it is good the district budgeted for a loss of 50 students, but added that a loss of students is never a positive thing.

“I am glad we budgeted for this,” he said. “By no means is this a windfall for us.”

Vieau said over the last five years the district has lost an average of around 65 students each year.

“Hopefully by losing 20 students we are starting to see a trend that shows us we are trending to a more consistent number,” he said.

Vieau said he expects the district to balance out over the next few years.

“We just need to continue to adjust to what the numbers are,” he said.

Standish-Sterling Community Schools

Last month, administrators at Standish-Sterling Community Schools said they expected to be down 21 students from last year. Superintendent Darren Kroczaleski said preliminary count day numbers show the district is down 25 students.

“Right now our number is not set in stone, but it appears that we will be down around 25 students,” he said.

Kroczaleski said that it is disappointing to lose students.

“A loss in students always hurts school districts,” he said. “That is a loss in revenue that districts need.”

Kroczaleski said he feels the state economy has played a role in the statewide trend of district’s losing more students each year.

“Every two years we get a projection of students based on birth rate in the area,” he said. “Numbers show that the birthrate is down, people are moving from the area, there are a number of reasons why this is happening.”

Krozaleski said the district will continue to budget according to the trends and make adjustments accordingly.

“We don’t want to see this trend continue but it is the hand we are dealt right now,” he said.

Superintendent of AuGres-Sims Schools, Anne Doriean, was unavailable for comment, as of press time. Information on AuGres-Sims student count numbers will be available in next week’s Arenac County Independent.

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