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The 2017-2018 school year will be my 8th year as Superintendent in the Lynnville-Sully Community School District.

Superintendent's Message - July 2017

Open Enrollment Positively Impacts Lynnville-Sully Student Count & Budget

What is open enrollment? Iowa’s open enrollment law allows students to transfer from one public school to another public school without paying tuition.  According to the Financing Public Education in Iowa report (January 2017), legislation signed in 1989 provided for open enrollment of students between public school districts.  The state of Iowa per student allocation transfers with the student from district to district. Last school year’s student allocation was $6,591. For Lynnville-Sully, there are more students open enrolling IN than open enrolling OUT.  At Lynnville-Sully, open enrollment improved student count as well as the school budget.

How has open enrollment impacted positively Lynnville-Sully? In the 2016-2017 school year, 72 students open-enrolled IN to Lynnville-Sully from surrounding school districts. Students open enrolled IN from the following school districts: BGM, Grinnell-Newburg, Montezuma, Newton, PCM, and Southeast Polk. The majority of open enrolled IN students came from Newton and Grinnell-Newburg.  After reviewing open enrollment numbers in April 2017, the school district is projecting over 80 students open enrolling IN for the 2017-2018 school year.  The open enrollment numbers have not always been this high. Ten years ago, only 42 students open enrolled IN to Lynnville-Sully. Iowa’s school funding formula is a student-based formula, meaning that the allowable spending for a school district is based upon the number of students enrolled on October 1 of each year.

What are student enrollment trends in Iowa? A majority of school districts across the state of Iowa have experienced decline in student enrollment. As a result, there has been a decline of school districts across the state of Iowa: In 1980 there were 445 school districts; 1990 – 431 school districts; 2000 – 375 school districts; 2016 – 333 school districts.  In the South Iowa Cedar League (SICL) Conference, student enrollment in each school district has declined over the past 20 years. Although Lynnville-Sully enrollment has experienced the smallest decline of students in the SICL Conference (43 students over the past 20 years), the school district is currently experiencing a surge of new students to the school district.

What are student enrollment projections for Lynnville-Sully? Next school year, Lynnville-Sully is anticipating an increase of 15 new students from open enrollment and families moving into the school district.  That’s good news because the school finance formula is based on the number of students enrolled in the district, as we gain students, we gain revenues to serve those students and, if enrollment declines, we lose revenue. Any time that we lose student enrollment, the district’s revenue is reduced by $6,591 multiplied by the number of students lost for next year. (i.e. if we lose 10 students multiply $6,591 times 10 which equals $65,910). For Lynnville-Sully, our projected increase of 15 more students means additional revenues in the budget. Remember, the key to maintaining a small school district is increasing or maintaining student enrollment.

Shane Ehresman, Ed.S.
Lynnville-Sully Community School District