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KSD Enrollment Down From 2017-18 School Year

Enrollment projections are a key component of our district’s annual budget development process. These projections determine or influence many of the financial estimates that comprise the budget, particularly in instructional areas. Staffing estimates are established using projected enrollments and student-teacher ratios. Allocations to schools for instructional materials and supplies are also calculated based on projected enrollments.

This year's student count for the month of September is 603 fewer students than last year, resulting in an estimated loss of approximately $7 million of revenue for 2018-19.

According to media reports the lower enrollment trend is not unique to Kent School District; many neighboring districts' enrollment including Bellevue, Federal Way, Highline, Seattle, Shoreline and Tukwila are all lower than their projections. We are evaluating multiple factors to understand the reasons for our enrollment decline.  

Fortunately, through contractual language* around transfers and classroom size, by September 15 all classrooms districtwide were balanced. KSD has worked with the Kent Education Association (KEA) to address any contractual agreements regarding teacher – student ratios. The classroom ratios across all grade levels remain the same as last year, as this was not impacted by the recent contract negotiations. 

What does this mean for the KSD budget this year and moving forward?

Our KSD Board of Directors adopted a budget in August and approved changes to the KEA contract for teachers earlier this month, which resulted in a commitment from the board at the September 12, 2018 meeting to adopt a budget amendment and revised four year outlook once all open contracts are settled. 

Additionally, on September 17, 2018, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) requested that all public school districts in Washington state provide a revised four-year outlook if their “previously submitted budget did not include an accurate depiction of all recent labor agreements”. This revised four-year outlook is due by November 1, 2018. 

T.J. Kelly, director of school apportionment and financial services at OSPI also reminded districts that “Per RCW 28A.505.040(3)(c), OSPI must consider a districts’ four-year budget plan when ranking each school district by financial health. As such, OSPI will incorporate elements of the four-year budget of each district into their score in the financial health indicators model when it is released in the spring. The weighting and score assignments associated with those new elements have not yet been determined.”

In accordance with this request from OSPI, the KSD Budget and Finance team is preparing presentations to provide information to the Board and our KSD community about the revised budget, including our actual enrollment counts for the 2018-19 school year, and the revised four-year outlook including the settled contracts. Through work sessions and regular board meetings in October, information will be shared in open public meetings, before revisions are taken before the Board for adoption on October 24, 2018. 

Details about all board meetings, including agendas and meeting times are available on the board website

*The changes to the KEA contract approved by the Board on September 5, 2018 are not yet reflected in the agreement currently available online. The changes that were negotiated and are approved are available on the board website.