Luverne School District enrollment steady, but dropping; affecting funding
A large portion of the March 26 Luverne School Board meeting was dedicated to discussing numbers. The bottom line is student numbers are down and the cost of educating them is up, leaving the school district squeezed in the middle.
Superintendent Gary Fisher said enrollment in District 2184 has remained around 1,190 students for a few years, but the district began the 2012-13 school year with about 16 fewer students than last year.
Each student brings in about $5,200 in state aid. A 16-student reduction amounts to a significant reduction in the school’s operating budget.
“The dollars we don’t get because of less student aid — that will have an impact on us,” Fisher said.
“We’ll have to continue to look at the (high school class) sections — where the kids are going. In some cases we may have to look at electives. We might have to make some decisions. When you don’t have the kids, it has an impact.”
District Business Manager Marlene Mann echoed Fisher’s concerns when the Board reviewed the revised budget.
“With a lower student enrollment, it means fewer dollars coming in,” Mann said.
“I know you want to do things differently and better, but sometimes you have to weed out what doesn’t work as well. We’ve been very fortunate in that we haven’t had to make cuts, which is the ugliest part of this job. I’m not saying we’re looking at cuts, but I’m saying that by next year you will be right on that edge where you’ll have to talk about them.”