Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Saturday

February 22, 2014

TCAPS: Population steady despite count day drop

TRAVERSE CITY — Count day numbers at Traverse City Area Public Schools appeared to dip slightly since fall.

Preliminary figures from TCAPS’ February count day put the district’s population at about 9,938 students, down from the 10,009 students tallied during a count day in October, district records show.

Those figures include pupils enrolled in TCAPS’ schools and “shared time” students, who attend private schools but also receive instruction from TCAPS.

TCAPS Human Resources Executive Director Christine Davis said final enrollment numbers account for “full-time equivalent” students, such as students who take a reduced course schedule or home-schooled students who take classes online. Davis said those figures aren’t available yet, but they should push TCAPS’ enrollment to just over 10,000.

“It looks like our TCAPS enrollment is staying strong, I think due to our programming and great staff,” Davis said.

The February count day figures could change as TCAPS and Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District officials audit the findings for accuracy, but Davis said the audited totals rarely differ greatly from the preliminary findings.

School officials will combine the February enrollment numbers with the figures from TCAPS’ October count day in a 90 percent-10 percent formula.

The blended total, which is due to the state by March 19, will determine how much funding TCAPS receives from Michigan’s state school aid fund.

The state starts doling out school aid funding to local districts based on estimated student counts in October.

Paul Soma, associate superintendent of finance & operations, said TCAPS will learn its final state school aid funding amount in late March.

“If they’ve underpaid or overpaid us, then they’ll make the adjustments,” Soma said.

State school aid money comprises the bulk of most districts’ operating budgets. School systems receive about $7,000 per student each year, so count day outcomes are crucial to districts’ finances.

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