Wichita school officials expect to see the district’s enrollment rise again when official numbers are released next week.
Students statewide will be counted Friday as part of an official head count conducted each year on Sept. 20. The number of students enrolled is used to determine each district’s per-student state funding for the school year.
Wichita’s enrollment last year was 50,639, up from the previous year’s 50,103 and the highest since 1975. It is the state’s largest school district.
Wichita superintendent John Allison said he expects another increase. The district’s budget for 2013-14 projects an enrollment increase of 300 students.
Because the official count determines the district’s funding – at least $3,838 for every full-time student – some schools send reminders to parents or offer incentives to make sure students get to school Friday.
At Chisholm Trail Elementary School in Park City, students will end their day with a balloon launch intended to both mark the official enrollment count day and celebrate a new multipurpose room built as part of the 2008 bond issue.
Friday’s count is the first part of a week-long accounting audit that determines what education officials call “weighted enrollment.”
Besides base per-pupil state aid, districts get additional funding for students who live more than 2 1/2 miles from school, students in at-risk preschool programs, vocational students and those who receive special-education or bilingual services.
Also, the state counts kindergarten students as one-half of a full-time student unless they receive special-education services.
Districts can still count students who are absent Friday if the student attended classes at least once before Friday and attends again before mid-October.