2017-10-11 / News

Dryden Schools has slight enrollment increase

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com

DRYDEN — Dryden Community Schools ended Count Day (Oct. 4) with 10 more students than school officials had budgeted for, but still 67 students less than last year.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Superintendent Mary Finnigan, “but I’m not going to read too much into it.”

Like every other school district in Lapeer County and most across the state, Dryden has struggled with declining enrollment in recent years. Dryden began the 2014-15 school year with 589 students and began last year with 557 students.

The basic problem, she said, is the incoming kindergarten classes have been significantly smaller that the graduating senior classes in recent years.

Still, Finnigan sees hopeful signs in the 35.38-square-mile district, namely the new home construction in the area. She added this year’s kindergarten round-up event drew 26 people instead of the usual 15 people and the district’s pre-school program is full with 29 students.

While there may be some adjustments when the Lapeer Intermediate School District audits Dryden’s enrollment numbers, Finnigan said she’s confident the district will settle in close to 490.

Noting the district had already budgeted for a decline in enrollment, Finnigan said the Count Day totals won’t affect the district’s staffing levels.

Finnigan said the 10 students were fairly evenly split between students new to the district and school of choice students. She added they were fairly spread across the grades as well.

“We’re just going to go about business as usual, trying to provide the best education available,” Finnigan said. “Hopefully this is a growing trend.”

The state Dept. of Education collects data on student enrollment the first Wednesday in October and again the second Wednesday of February (Feb. 14, 2018).

At stake is a 7,631 per student foundation grant, plus a $25 bonus for each high school student.

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