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Menahga School enrollment is up

Enrollment projections for Menahga School continue to go up and up.

Superintendent Mary Klamm said school staff has always figured out projections by calling county officials, looking at the newspaper for births and hearing about people moving into the area.

"It wasn't real scientific," she said. "We called School Finances to help us so that we would have true enrollment projections."

The projections that came from seemed high, Klamm said.

"The reason we thought they were a little bit high was because their enrollment projections for this year we are presently in were actually higher than we are presently at," she said.

So she and business manager Liz Olson calculated more conservative enrollment numbers.

"You get in trouble if you overestimate and build your budgets that way so we wanted to do a more conservative model," Klamm said. "Our unscientific method seemed to be more accurate. But you don't know until you investigate and find those things out."

Looking at the numbers, "you can see that it's growth, growth, growth," she said.

By the 2015-16 school year, the projected enrollment is expected to increase from 767 to 927.

Additionally, when calculating pupil unit weights, Menahga gets more funding.

Pupil unit weights are determined by the legislature.

According to the weights determined by the legislature, pre-kindergarten student is worth 1.25. For example, that means, on the dollar, the student is worth $1.25, Klamm said.

Pre-kindergarten students are 1.25, handicapped kindergarten students are 1 and kindergarten students are .62.

Students in grades 1-3 are .612, grades 4-6 are 1.06 and grades 7-12 are 1.30.

The weighting of students determines funding for school districts.

"When we look at funding in 2014-15, even though it says we'll have 876 students, the number of pupil units is actually 1,018," Klamm said. "That's how our funding comes through."

Elementary principal Joleen Delahunt agreed that enrollment projections are especially important for funding purposes.

"The sooner we get these kids on our papers and we know who these families are and where they live, the more money we get," Delahunt said.

The good news, Klamm said, is that there doesn't seem to be anything on the horizon indicating the school district will go the other way.

Menahga students have even recognized that there are more young people in town.

"I was visiting with a couple of seniors today and we were talking about our growth. They said, 'well, you know when you take a look at our Sunday school classes, they are a lot bigger than ours,'" Klamm said.

In other business, the board:

n Heard from Klamm that the special election polling times have been expanded. The polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Also, two judges were added to the Menahga polling place to accommodate for two registration tables and two roster signing tables.

This should eliminate the long lines that were experienced at the Nov. 3 election, Klamm said.

Absentee voting is also available. Applications and ballots are available Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and until 5 p.m. Monday, April 12 at the district office.

n Approved the 2010-11 school calendar. Students start school Sept. 7. The last day of school is June 1. The calendar aligns closely with Sebeka.

n Appointed Jake Lund as a junior high baseball coach, step 1.

n Appointed Steve Bruer as a junior high softball coach, step 2.

n Approved a request by Emily Peterson to reduce her contract to half time for the 2010-11 school year.

n Heard that students raised $4,885.95 for the 11th "Jump Rope for Heart." Funds go to the American Heart Association.

n Heard that students raised $1,400.10 for Haiti. The money will go to the American Red Cross fund for Haiti.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561