For the first time in five years, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s actual student enrollment is higher than its projected enrollment. Members of the KPBSD Board of Education were presented with historical enrollment numbers during a finance committee meeting on March 14.
KPBSD Finance Director Elizabeth Hayes said enrollment numbers were prepared at the request of committee chair Jason Tauriainen, who voiced support for more diligent tracking of the movement of students in and out of the district throughout the year.
For fiscal year 2022, which began on July 1, 2021, and will end on June 30, 2022, there were about 440 more students enrolled in KPBSD than projected.
Student enrollment in the school district helps determine how much money the district will get from the state during its budget cycle. The more students enrolled, the more money the district stands to receive. All Alaska school districts participate in an annual 20-day count in October.
Additionally, Hayes said the district is starting to see the number of students enrolled in the district’s home-school and brick and mortar schools balance out. Student enrollment in Connections, the school district’s home-school program, increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m hoping next year that we’ll have more kids returning to our brick and mortar schools,” Hayes said.
Connections Principal Richard Bartolowits told board members during a presentation last spring that enrollment in the program had doubled that school year, from around 875 students during the 2019-2020 academic year to 1,777 during the 2020-2021 academic year. The number dropped to around 1,170 this school year.
KPBSD board of education meetings can be viewed on the district’s media page at media.kpbsd.k12.ak.us.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at email@example.com.