Mark Taylor
[email protected]
The Gardner-Edgerton and Spring Hill School districts are posting increased enrollment numbers following headcounts taken during the first week of school.
All Kansas school districts maintain first of the year student enrollment counts that, when combined with weighting factors, become the full time equivalent (FTE) numbers used by the state to determine the amount of funding each district receives.
Headcounts taken during the first week of the school year typically continue to increasethrough September.
Official FTE numbers are established on Sept. 20.
The Gardner-Edgerton School District posted 218 new students as of Aug. 16.
According to headcounts, the district currently has 5,089 students, compared with 4,871 at the same time the previous year.
“That is kind of what we had anticipated,” Lana Gerber, director of human resources said. “We looking good as far as the numbers go.”
Gardner Edgerton gained 60 students at the elementary level (grades K-4), 65 students at the middle school level (grades 5-8) and 93 at the high school level (grades 9-12).
Headcounts at each school included Edgerton Elementary, 168; Gardner Elementary, 365; Madison Elementary, 442; Moonlight Elementary, 565; Nike Elementary, 351; Sunflower Elementary, 292; Pioneer Ridge Middle School, 730; Wheatridge Middle School, 819, and Gardner Edgerton High School, 1,357.
The enrollment figures do not include pre-school or early childhood students. Special Services is currently conducting district wide screenings and  pre-school/early childhood enrollment will not be known until Sept. 20.
Spring Hill counted 2,250 students the first week of school.
That’s an increase of  82 students over last year’s headcount.
Prairie Creek Elementary counted 265 students; Spring Hill Elementary, 487; Spring Hill Intermediate, 378; Spring Hill Middle School, 493; and Spring Hill High School, 627.
Spring Hill’s headcount does not include its virutal school, for which enrollment is still taking place.
Both school districts have claimed growing student populations as the need for new and expanded facilities.
Gardner-Edgerton is planning a $72.79 million bond issue election for January that would pay for:
A new elementary school ($18.348 million) to absorb growth south of Main Street. The district’s seventh elementary school would have a capacity for 500 students in kindergarten through fourth grade.
A new middle school ($30.192 million) to relieve current growth at Wheatridge Middle School and future growth at Pioneer Ridge Middle School.  The district’s third middle school would have a capacity for 800 students in fifth to eighth grade.
Land acquisition ($2.066 million) to accommodate the new elementary and middle schools, and expansion of athletic fields at Gardner Edgerton High School.
A new multi-purpose activity center at Gardner Edgerton High School ($7.971 million) to facilitate basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, track, aerobics, dance, and strength training.
Various capital improvements ($8.2 million)
District wide: Improvements to roofing, parking lots, furniture, lighting, playground equipment, ceiling replacements, doors, etc.
Gardner Elementary renovation: Paint, carpeting, HVAC repair, casework, furniture, doors, etc.
Sunflower Elementary renovation: Carpet, furniture, ceilings, doors, windows, parking lot replacement, casework, etc.
GEHS District Activity Complex expansion: Additional seating, visitors restrooms, concessions, field upgrade and press box expansion.
Technology upgrades ($6.013 million) in all schools and district management systems.
Superintendent Bill Gilhaus has said state aid for bond and interest projects has increased from 30 percent to 35 percent and a competitive construction market is expected to play into the district’s favor.
He said the bond issue would cost the owner of a $150,000 home an estimated $4.27 per month.
Spring Hill successfully campaigned a $39 million bond issue election in June that school officials say will not require an increase in the property tax mill levy, includes several improvements to accommodate a growing enrollment, including:
• Expanding Prairie Creek Elementary School to a capacity of 528 students in the fall of 2012.
• A new 528-student elementary school on the existing 155-acre high school site, expected to be completed in the fall of 2013.
• Transforming Spring Hill Elementary into a pre-kindergarten to fifth grade facility in the fall of 2013.
• Converting the current intermediate school into a sixth grade building by fall of 2013.
• Safety enhancements in all schools, maintenance and district-wide technology upgrades.