Danedri Thompson
[email protected]
USD 230 and USD 231 have more students this year than they did last year.
The Spring Hill School District added 97 students this year – or grew by approximately 3.9 percent. The Gardner Edgerton School District added 210 students, or grew by approximately 3.7 percent.
In Spring Hill, the sixth grade, or the class of 2021, is the largest with 208 students.
“It also was the first class in the history of the district to surpass the 200 mark,” Christine Splichal, USD 230 communications director, wrote in a press release.
In 2013, the SH district added 86 students.
The class of 2021 isn’t the only class to boast more than 200. Five other classes, including the first, second, third and fifth graders also have more than 200 students.
In Gardner-Edgerton, almost every grade gained students. There are fewer kindergartners, third graders and seventh graders enrolled in USD 231 this year.
The first grade grew by 40 students, the fourth grade has 77 more students this year, and there are 27 more high school freshman at Gardner Edgerton High School than there were in 2013.
“It’s considerably more growth than we’ve had the last couple of years,” Jody Marshall, Gardner-Edgerton Human Resources Director, said. “It’s closer to double what we’ve experienced in the few years.”
He explained the attendance numbers are “headcount,” and not to be confused with “full-time equivalent,” or FTE, counts.
The state uses attendance numbers to determine a large portion of funding to public schools. The state provides $3,838 per student, however the attendance numbers are weighted. For example, a student on the free-and-reduced lunch program may be counted as slightly more than one student, while a kindergarten student is counted as a half-student. Preschool, alternative education and peer model students are not counted at all in the state funding formula.
In USD 231, a headcount of 5,530 students in 2013 translated into base-state-aid-per- pupil funding for 5,154.
Though attendance records on Sept. 22 will be used to determine state-aid to each district, the weighted numbers won’t be reported to the state by school districts until mid-October. And then the state will audit those numbers.
Both districts anticipate additional growth in the future.
“For more than a decade, the (Spring Hill) district has experience annual increases in the number of students attending its schools,” Splichal wrote in a release. “As new residential developments continue an upward trend, enrollment in the district will stay on track to increase between 4-5 percent annually.”
The majority of new USD 230 students reside near 175th Street in Olathe and Overland Park and on land near Spring Hill High School in Spring Hill. Officials anticipate the district will host 3,000 students by 2018.
Both districts have built new schools in the last few years. Spring Hill doubled capacity at Prairie Creek Elementary School in 2012 and opened a new elementary school, Wolf Creek, last year.
Gardner-Edgerton opened a new elementary school, Grand Star, last year; and in August, Trail Ridge Middle School opened its doors to students.