Enrollment in Juneau schools down from projections

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Enrollment at Juneau schools is below what the district had projected, meaning less funding will be available to spend.

    Director of Admin Services, Cassee Olin, reported the student population counts by schools and grade compared to enrollment projections. The district's final number of students was 4234, 146 fewer students than the district had projected.

    As a result of the decrease in enrollment and the hold harmless provision, they will see $58,000 less in foundation funding and a slight decrease to Quality Schools at $1587 for a total of $589,725 in state funds, and the city and borough of Juneau participation would be reduced by $37,552 for general school operations.

    The grade level that came way below projections was kindergarteners. There is a total of 285 kids in the grade, 62 students below projections.

    "We estimated 347 kindergartners showing up and 285 did, were down 61.85 kindergarteners, and that's your biggest piece of this whole entire thing is our kindergarteners didn't show up, for whatever reasons, they didn't get enrolled into our schools," Olin said.

    Superintendent Dr. Bridget Weiss says there were alot of unknowns around kindergarten projection this year, as well as going into next year.

    "Kindergarten is always the hardest to project typically, for obvious reasons, right? In the other grade levels, we have cohorts that we're starting with as a base, but kindergarten tends to be the hardest for us to predict, and of course remember when we started the year there were still a lot of unknowns with vaccine status for younger children and so forth," she said. "So we were even at a bigger disadvantage with kindergarten this year, I think in terms of projection, and now we look one year extended now, a lot of variables between now and the fall, what the status will be whether we'll have a lot of kids coming in as kinders that didn't show up this year, or that may want to come and test in the first grade, which is an option depending on age and all of those things. So definitely will be some other variables this fall."

    In other matters, Weiss said the water pipe bursting at Riverbend Elementary had occurred at the corner of the school's commons area and the gym. She says there was some flooding, with water traveling through about two-thirds of the school. A water damage assessment is underway, Weiss said they are hopeful to reopen the school Thursday.

    "So we've already got all those wheels turning. Some classrooms were not impacted at all, others were, and depending on what they had on the ground, they either had more or less waterlogged in their classrooms. The library was hit hard," she said.

    During the board's spotlight on success, Glacier Valley Elementary Teacher Geoffrey Wyatt presented to the board about arts-integrated activities at the school. Activities included lessons using STEAM, observational drawing, tableau, and "Friday in the Forest," where students go outside to learn. Board members voiced their appreciation of Wyatts and the school's work.

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