December 10, 2019

Standish-Sterling student count drops since last year

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STANDISH — This year’s fall count at Standish-Sterling Community Schools showed a drop of 31 students since last October.

Standish-Sterling is receiving $8,111 in per-pupil foundation allowance from the state this year, meaning that the drop in students, from 1577 to 1546, amounts to a little more than $251,000 in lost revenue.

Standish-Sterling Superintendent Darren Kroczaleski said, while the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years showed stable enrollment, the drop this year is still an improvement over those in previous years.

“For a long time, we were losing anywhere from 40-50 kids a year,” Kroczaleski said.

Kroczaleski said the loss in revenue has a significant effect on the budget, but the school district has been able to recoup some of that loss through cuts that have not resulted in teacher layoffs.

“You don’t have that revenue and you still have the same number of staff and same number of buses, so it hurts the budget,” Kroczaleski said. “It’s had a significant impact over the years, but one way we’ve been able to alleviate it … over the last five to 10 years as teachers retired, we haven’t replaced them all.”

Kroczaleski said cuts made over the past several years have not affected the quality of education in the district but have resulted in compounded savings over time.

“Over the years we’ve been able to make some small cuts that realigned positions and didn’t affect the classrooms,” Kroczaleski said. “When you cut those costs, you save that (amount) every year.”

Kroczaleski said the school has been actively working to bring more students into the district, including using advertising on radio and television highlighting the quality of test scores and overall education in the district.

“We’ve lost more students in other years, so I’m just hoping that the trend gets back to staying stable as it has in previous years,” Kroczaleski said. “It makes things a lot more stable when the revenue is the same.”

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