Friday was the official head count day for enrollment numbers for Indiana public schools. It was also exactly one month since the beginning of the 2013-14 academic year for the Wawasee Community School Corp.
According to numbers provided by the school corporation, Wawasee had a corporation total of 3,028 students enrolled, an increase of 33 students compared to 2,995 the same time in 2012. Much of the increase occurred in elementary schools in North Webster and Syracuse. North Webster increased from 483 in 2012 to 504 this year, while Syracuse increased from 457 to 474.
Milford School’s enrollment is 581, down from 598 a year ago. Wawasee Middle School had a slight increase of six students from 512 to 518, while Wawasee High School also showed a slight increase of five from 944 to 949.
“The numbers can fluctuate a little from year to year due to incoming classes, like kindergarten in an elementary, or exiting classes, like fifth-grade in an elementary,” said Dr. Tom Edington, Wawasee superintendent. “At Milford, we lost a large eighth-grade class from last year.”
In addition, Edington noted that the local economy has improved in the last year or two and there are now more jobs within the Wawasee school district.
Edington also noted 24 students living in the Warsaw school district are attending Wawasee schools and 29 students living in the Wawasee district are attending Warsaw schools. Last year, the numbers were 28 students in each direction. Parents can send their children to a school district outside of the one they live in without having to pay tuition fees.
For clarification, it should be emphasized the number of students enrolled is not necessarily the same as the number physically attending classes. “It’s how many kids are enrolled on that day,” said Dr. Bob Cockburn, data specialist for the Wawasee school corporation.
It is possible for a student to enroll at Wawasee then go to another school district and not let Wawasee know about it, Cockburn said. “Or they can come to Wawasee but have enrolled elsewhere, but we won’t know until we get a records request from the other district,” he noted.
Also, it is possible for two school districts to claim the same student as being enrolled. When that happens, it creates a conflict and each district must research to find out where the student should actually be enrolled.
Occasionally some students leave without telling anyone “and a very few simply can’t be located,” Cockburn said.
Accurate enrollment numbers is crucial, he said, because the Indiana Department of Education bases funding to schools on enrollment numbers. Another head count date will occur in February.