Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Ottawa posts student gains

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Staff Writer | 9/2/2013

Ottawa school district opened its classrooms to a larger student population this year.

As of Aug. 21, the district’s total enrollment was 2,436 — up 28 students compared to same-day figures for Aug. 21, 2012, when the district’s enrollment stood at 2,408, according to numbers provided by the school district.

Ottawa school district opened its classrooms to a larger student population this year.

As of Aug. 21, the district’s total enrollment was 2,436 — up 28 students compared to same-day figures for Aug. 21, 2012, when the district’s enrollment stood at 2,408, according to numbers provided by the school district.

A true comparison to last year’s first-day enrollment numbers is difficult, administrators said, because the school district does not yet have an accurate head count for its pre-K students.

“We are still completing the screening [process] for some of those kiddos,” Jeanne Stroh, Ottawa superintendent, said.

When pre-K numbers are factored into last year’s count, first-day enrollment numbers stood at 2,471. Stroh said she thought the pre-K total would be roughly about 70 students this year.

District administrators, however, said the district could take in some more students in the coming days before the official roll count is taken Sept. 20 at school districts across Kansas for the state department of education. The Sept. 20 enrollment figures are used to help determine state aid to be awarded to each school district.

People who are planning to move to a new community and enroll their children in a new district at this time of year often do so over the extended Labor Day holiday weekend, Josh Robinson, Lincoln Elementary School principal, said during a break at the school board meeting Aug. 26.

“I would expect to have some new students come in Tuesday,” Robinson said.

The district’s total elementary student enrollment, not including pre-K students, stood at 1,198, according to district figures, which is eight more students than last year after deducting pre-K numbers from the Aug. 21, 2012, totals released by the district.

By building, the district’s elementary student population as of Aug. 21 was:

• Lincoln Elementary School, 1120 N. Milner Road, 507 students.

• Garfield Elementary School, 1213 S. College St., 394 students.

• Eugene Field Elementary School, 720 Tremont Ave., 297 students.

Without having to factor in pre-K numbers, making an apples-to-apples comparison at Ottawa middle and high schools is easier.

Enrollment at Ottawa Middle School, 1230 S. Ash St., is 557 students, down seven students from last year’s 564 head count.

Ottawa High School, 1120 S. Ash St., saw the largest growth on the first day with 681 students, compared to 661 students last year.

“We still have a transient population, but we graduated a class of about 150 seniors last year and brought in a freshman class of 180-plus students this year,” Ryan Cobbs, OHS principal, said of the enrollment surge.

When factoring in changes in the sophomore and junior class populations, the school’s first-day enrollment was up about 20 students, Cobbs said.

The district’s overall population could fluctuate from building to building before Sept. 20, Stroh said.

“In comparing last year to this year, there were no significant changes at any of our attendance centers,” Stroh said.

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