Enrollment at Paton-Churdan grows for second consecutive year

By not-yet-official counts, Paton-Churdan enrollment has grown by 18 students compared to last year, with 226 students this year.

Principal Annie Smith shared that information in her report at the P-C school board’s regular meeting Sept. 12. There are seven more students open enrolled at P-C from other districts, she said, and some resident students who had open enrolled in other districts opted to return to P-C. There are also new residents among the new students.

Smith also talked with the board about the staff’s mantra for the year – Giving Our Best. She said the entire staff is using the mantra. “It’s so important every single day for us to push kids to give their best, not ever to be the best, but to give their best, and for us [staff] every day to give our best,” she said.

Before Smith’s report, superintendent Kreg Lensch provided ending balances for fiscal year 2017-18. The ending fund balance has decreased some, but he isn’t recommending budget cuts yet.

He reminded the board that funding is based on the previous year’s enrollment and there was no growth in 2016-17, and that with only a 1 percent increase in state supplemental aid, “you’re not going to get ahead.”

“This isn’t too concerning to me because this year we’ll show growth again by our enrollment… If we go into our organizational meeting next year and it looks the same, we’ll have to have discussion on that,” Lensch said.

In past years the first meeting in September has been an organizational meeting following a school election. This year, with school elections now to be held with local elections in odd-numbered years, the organizational meeting was an opportunity to elect new board officers. The P-C board chose not to do that, but to re-elect David Palmer as president and Mitch Stream as vice president.

The board set the second Monday of the month at 6 pm at the school in Churdan as the regular meeting time and place for 2018-19.

The board set Sunday, Sept. 16, as the date for a work session. More detailed discussion of the budget, including projections for the next five years, is on the agenda. Also on the agenda is discussion of the proposal received from the Greene County Schools regarding athletic and academic sharing for grades 9-12. The P-C board expects to decide what its counter-proposal will be.

The board approved offering an early retirement option for the current school year. Eligible staff must be older than 55 and have worked at least 15 years in the Paton-Churdan school district. The financial incentive is 50 percent of the employee’s current annual wage up to a maximum of $35,000. The employee can choose to take it in one lump sum, quarterly, or in 12 monthly installments. The incentive will be paid from the district’s management fund; Lensch said that fund is “healthy” and could fund the incentive for two employees.

The next regular board meeting will be Monday, Oct. 8. The board will have a joint meeting with the Greene County Schools board Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 7 pm in the school library in Churdan.

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