The Edmonds School District’s initial enrollment figures show that the numbers are comfortable and only minor shifts will be necessary to smooth out the start of the school year.
Last spring, district staff projected a districtwide enrollment of 20,127 students, and the official figure as of the fourth day of school, an important date for districts, was 20,281.
In raw figures, this is 154 more bodies than what was projected, and 96 full-time equivalent (FTE) students more than expected.
The FTE number takes into account students who attend only partial days, including kindergartners and Running Start students, and mathematically combines these part-time students into full-time, giving the district the number of full-time equivalent students.
“We came really close to what our projected (number) was,” said Doug Pierce, the district’s human resources director.
This fourth-day count is important because the number of FTE is what the district uses to calculate the budget.
Any large differences between projected and actual FTE can negatively affect school districts if they predict more students than actually enroll.
But this was not the case in Edmonds, and it now should receive more state funding with the increase in enrollment.
Now, staff will focus on the individual schools, and minor shifts in staffing and classrooms may be necessary to even teacher-student ratios. The goal, Pierce said, is to “try to come up with a plan that is least disruptive to the fewest students and staff.”
Pierce said enrollment in recent years has been on the decline, so it was positive to see figures go up, especially in kindergarten.
“Our kindergarten numbers came in stronger than we projected,” Pierce said.
In fact, they came in around 50 students more than anticipated, he said. Although it’s too soon to know if kindergarten enrollment will continue to increase, one year of growth is very positive, he said.