School enrollment to decrease for the next five years

School enrollment to decrease for the next five

By: CHRIS BEST

Enquirer Democrat Reporter

At Monday night’s school board meeting Heather Deneve presented an “enrollment forecast” indicating that enrollment in the Carlinville School District will likely continue to decrease over the next five years.

While 1,364 students were enrolled for the 2018-2019 school year, only 1,337 students are expected to enroll next year, and that number is expected to steadily drop each year forecast through 2023 when 1,282 enrolled students are projected.

The state calculates funding for school districts based on their enrollment rather than attendance; however, the general funding for a district is not penalized from the year prior if enrollment is down. Currently, Carlinville is in the first tier funding level. This indicates that for the number students in the district, Carlinville is not considered adequately funded by state standards. Continued decline in enrollment could lead to the district moving to the second tier of funding, indicating that the funding to student ratio would be more adequate. While a more adequately funded school district is generally a good thing, it may also lead to fewer opportunities for extra funding rewards.

The enrollment forecast was based off of local birth data through 2017 which are compiled by the Illinois Department of Health. The district enrollment history is also examined to calculate what is referred to as a survival ratio.

It’s worth noting that although the birth rate in the Carlinville area is decreasing, this reflects the declining birth rate for the state of Illinois which has been on a mostly downward trajectory since at least 2000. There is also always potential for more students to move into the district or others to move away, both of which would have an impact on the forecast and potentially funding.

Musical spotlight

The school board spotlighted the All-School Musical in this week’s meeting. This year’s performance will be the new musical “Freaky Friday” directed by Lori Reiher. Musical Choreographer Jessica Ryan and three students (Cast Member Annabelle Hulett, Stage Crew Member MacKenzie Moyer and Pit Band Member Olivia Turley) spoke about the impact of the musical, while the remainder of the 121 student cast and crew rehearsed in the gym downstairs.

“This musical has never been done. It’s brand new. So for Mrs. Reiher and Mr. Morrison to find it and get the rights to it was big,” Ryan said. “We’ve all just fallen in love with it; it’s one of our favorites. We’re really excited to do it this weekend.”

The board presented the representatives with personalized certificates for students who participated in the musical for all four years of high school. Miniature hourglasses (in theme with the hourglass used in the play) filled with chocolate were also given to the students participating in this year’s production.

Carlinville High School’s production of “Freaky Friday” will be performed at 7:00 p.m. March 15 and 16 in the high school gym. Tickets are sold at the door or in the high school office. 

Dr. Becky Schuchman reviewed the recent AdvancEd Performance Standards Review which was part of the districts accreditation process with AdvancEd. Although the official results have not been released yet, according to Schuchman, Carlinville met all of the standards and should be approved for accreditation. This includes Early Childhood accreditation for the first time. Only one other school district in the state of Illinois has received this accreditation.

“One of the things that we had never done before is the early childhood accreditation,” Schuchman said. “They actually have their own interviews and their own evaluation. That was all thanks to Danley [Killam].”

Other business covered in the meeting included the approval of an insurance renewal from Dimond Bros. Insurance  at a total cost of $169,389. This includes commercial, workman’s compensation, data security, mine subsidence, earthquake and various other insurances.

Membership with the Illinois High School Association was also renewed for the 2019-2020 school year at no fee to the district. 

The board agreed to release a request for qualifications for architectural services to address various issues at the high school and middle school buildings including necessary tuck pointing of the bricks in critical areas of the building, as well as heating issues in some of the offices. Additionally, two buses with trade in costs of $85,276 and $84,276 respectively were approved for purchase.

The board accepted the resignation of Heather Rothe to take effect at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

The following non-tenured teachers were re-employed for 2019-2020 school year: Michelle Schmidt, Marissa Rosentreter, Danlee Whitler, Stacey Steiner Rachel Bouillon, Sandra Stagmeier, Ethan Klaffer, Alexis Burns, Samantha Boehler and Jordan Leefers.

Three fourth year probationary teachers were also re-employed, awarding them with tenure to take effect in August of 2019: Maureen Wise, Lexi Haley and Shay Kellerman.

Four new employees were hired pending successful completion of the required documents: Erica Gibbel as the high school cheerleading coach for the 2019-2020 season; Ashley Campbell as a volunteer assistant girls’ soccer coach; Megan Stayton as a volunteer assistant high school softball coach and Lydia Rothe as a school nurse.

The board will next meet on Monday, April 15 at 7:00 p.m. in the High School Media Center.

Students practice their choreography for Carlinville High School’s production of “Freaky Friday.” Performances will be March 15 and 16 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at the door or in the high school office. Enquirer Democrat Photo by Chris Best.