School District Enrollment In Free-fall


By Jon A. Brake

The Manhattan-Ogden See-No-Evil School Board received more bad news Wednesday night. The board was told
that the district's enrollment problems have not hit bottom. They can look for another three to eight hundred drop
in enrollment over the next five years.

The Kansas Association of School Boards gave the district two projections: (1) shows the district going from 5724
students this year to 5314 in 2005. (2) shows the enrollment dropping to 4,700 in 2005.

When the school district voted in 1993 to build three new schools the enrollment was 6,790. The School Board
made predictions at that time that enrollment would hit 7,900 by 1998-99.

After the vote and $25,000,000 in new buildings the enrollment has dropped to 5,724 or 1,066 less students. But
at the same time enrollment was in Free-fall the budget has continued to increase, numbers of employee
continued to increase and salaries have continued to increase.

In January the Board voted to add a permanent and continuous authority to raise the Local Option Budget from
18.74% to 25% of the General Fund. This year the General Fund is $24,971,340 and the LOB is $4,675,526. at
25% the LOB would be $6,242,835.

The School Board should have been making cuts for the past six to seven years but they have not. Each year the
School Board has added LOB money to make up for the money lost by the falling enrollment.

Eleven Committees have been formed to give direction for cutting costs. The District held a "Community Forum"
Monday night but only thirty-four people attended and twenty -five of those were district employees.

Why would the District want the public to: "Share ideas on the district's possible budget cuts" what would the
public know about the budget?

Cuts must be made. It is the administrations job to make the recommendations and the Board's decision. They
should do their job.