Manhattan-Ogden students are back in the classrooms, and administrators have taken the opportunity this week to take a look at enrollment numbers this school year. Besides an additional 50 students at enrolled at MHS, assistant superintendent Eric Reid told board members on Wednesday night the district enrollment might be flat – or even down – for the 2016-2017 school year.
USD 383’s final enrollment must be submitted to the state by September 20. Reid said middle school numbers are down, but elementary numbers are up. There are nearly 6,000 students enrolled as of now. Notably, Reid said enrollment in the third grade has risen so high that the district has began turning away all out-of-district transfers for the time being.
“It’s a tough thing for us to do, but we’re not getting any funding for it and we don’t have enough space,” Reid said. Reid was commenting on the block grant funding, which would not account for extra students in the district.
“In a lot of ways I’m thankful we have what we have,” Reid said. “We actually have staffing for what we have. Last year, we were short and our kindergarten classes were full.”
Board member Curt Herrman requested Reid do another count later in the fall and again in the spring. Herrman has heard rumors of additional soldiers headed to Fort Riley, and said that could impact 383’s numbers.
Larry Doll, director of human resources, presented the findings of a market analysis report to board members which resulted in wage increases for unlicensed staff. Bus drivers, paraprofessionals, and crossing guards are just a few different positions who will see an increase in their wages. The new starting wage in the district is $10 an hour. President Marcia Rozell said by paying staff more, the district is more competitive with other employers and can keep turnover low. The board also unanimously voted for a 2.5% salary increase for administrative and managerial staff.
Ten minutes before the regularly scheduled meeting, the district held the public budget hearing. USD 383 passed the budget for the current fiscal year which includes a property tax of 55 mills and LOB percentage of 33%. The district also approved an upcoming trip to Indianapolis for the FFA chapter at Manhattan High School. USD 383 will also be purchasing a 71-passenger bus from an Illinois based company.
The Board of Education’s next meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on August 24. Six different firms will be presenting proposals to the district for long range facilities planning.