Preliminary enrollment figures are in for the Akron Public School district and so far the numbers are down slightly from last year. Superintendent David James says 21,804 students have enrolled to begin this school year, down from last year's 22,186 students. But that number could change further depending on one more count at the end of this week.
" We're seeing some students show up at schools still to register for courses, or some of our students and families that have been re-settled from other countries, like through the International Institute," says James.
James says there are also a number of so called "empty seat" enrollments. " We show students in seats, but they haven't shown up since the first day. In all likelihood those students have taken other educational options and moved out of the area," says James.
David James tells AkronNewsNow he isn't sure what impact the district's financial woes have had on this year's enrollment. " What we've been doing is really right-sizing the district to respond to a lower population than we had from when I first started with Akron Public Schools over 20 years ago, but it also looks at marketing the district, making sure that people know all about our creative programs and partnerships. So all of those of course feed into what we ask in terms of a levy and what our staffing levels are. Just because we have a reduction in student population, there's not a good formula to say that if x number of students leave, x number of staff need to be reduced, because when students leave, they just don't all leave from just one classroom or one grade level, they're spread out throughout the district, so we have some ratios in terms of class sizes that we try to maintain."
The district had to cut its budget by 22-million dollars and placed a 7.9 mill levy on the November ballot.
Something that could have a positive impact on enrollment numbers in the near future are kindergarten enrollment numbers, which were up a couple of years ago.
A crucial final head count in October will determine how much state funding per-student the Akron school district will receive.