District 51 set to receive small state funding bump

School District 51 will likely see a marginal increase in state funding for the coming fiscal year thanks to a slight bump in enrollment, according to district officials.

There were approximately 60 more students enrolled in a District 51 school in October 2016 compared to October 2015, according to spokeswoman Emily Shockley.

There were also 67 more students enrolled in local charter schools.

According to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s proposed state budget, District 51 is set to receive $174 more per full-time student from the state.

But the additional funding — approximately $3.6 million — will probably be used for operating costs, not new projects or programs, Shockley said.

“It’s mostly to help with existing costs for the additional kids, and there are also those with additional needs,” she said, such as the 50 students who were newly identified as needing special education services this year.

The most significant enrollment decrease was at the elementary school level. There were 17 fewer elementary students in 2016 than in 2015.

That’s something to keep an eye on, district budget analyst Melanie Heath told school board members at a business meeting earlier this month.

“Fewer students are coming in at the beginning of their education and there are more coming in later on, which could lead to lower enrollment in the future,” Heath said.

There was also a six-student drop in full-day kindergarten enrollment.

The school board will finalize the district budget in January, Shockley said.


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