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Student population that dropped five years ago in the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. because of the flood, the recession and the opening of the International School of Columbus has risen again for the fourth straight year.
Vaughn Sylva, the district’s assistant superintendent of financial services, will present the district’s recently released, state-certified Average Daily Membership data to the school board during a public meeting tonight.
That data, from the Indiana Department of Education, shows the district had 10,683 students as of September, which is the most it has had since the 2008-09 school year, when it dropped to 10,568 students.
The district has 73 more students that it had the prior year and about 30 more than district officials expected, Quick said.
He credited more students entering under the English as a Second Language program for the resurgence.
The gains amount to the biggest spike the district has experienced since the enrollment setbacks of 2008.
One of those factors was the recession, said Bill Jensen, the district’s assistant superintendent of financial services.
He said people were losing their jobs at the time and had to move out of the area to find work.
Columbus faced a double whammy when the June 2008 flood devastated parts of the community, Jensen said. Many people who lived in those areas were forced to leave because their homes were devastated.
Improving economic conditions, however, have contributed to the student population growth, school officials said.
Quick said the opening of the International School of Columbus at 3136 S. National Road was the final piece of the puzzle to hurt enrollment.
However, the International School closed Friday because of financial difficulties.
Quick said any increase in enrollment at Bartholomew Consolidated because of the International School’s would be reflected in next school year’s state-certified
The increase in the Bartholomew Consolidated school district this year demonstrates the district is stable and holding its own financially, Quick said.
In fact, the growth is generating about $185,000 in unexpected state revenue and $200,750 in extra funding overall this year.
The state gives the school system about $70 million a year based on student population — about $5,500 per student — which covers about 70 percent of the Bartholomew Consolidated school district’s budget.
However, Quick said little or none of the extra money from the enrollment increase translates to a net financial gain because the district has to pay costs related to each new student’s education.
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