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Sunday, June 16, 2019

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School district’s enrollment drop could reduce state aid

School district’s enrollment drop could reduce state aid

If enrollment in Lafourche Parish schools doesn’t increase by February, the school district could be facing a more than a $200,000 loss in state money for the next school year, the School Board was told Wednesday night.

Each year, schools receive money from the state for each student enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade. According to a count done Monday, Lafourche had 13,970 students enrolled, 60 less than last October.

The final count will be completed on Feb. 1, and the numbers are expected to fluctuate. But should the enrollment numbers stay the same as this week, the district will lose $237,660 for the 2018-19 school year, said Frank Pasqua, the school district’s child welfare and attendance director.

“We hope we can gain some students, but normally we lose some students,” Pasqua said.

Compared to last October, the parish has 124 more fifth grade students and 95 more seniors in high school, but it also has 77 fewer second graders, 50 fewer seventh graders and 46 fewer 11th graders.

The schools that showed the greatest gains were Golden Meadow Upper Elementary and Thibodaux High, with 33 and 28 more students than last October, respectively.

West Thibodaux Middle School had the largest losses in student enrollment at 42 fewer than last year. W.S. Lafargue Elementary was down 38 students and Virtual Academy of Lafourche dropped by 35 since last October.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the enrollment drop because there are so many variables that play into enrollment, Pasqua said, but home schooling and virtual schools could be among factors.

“We also have a number of students who are going into the Louisiana virtual school,” school Superintendent Jo Ann Matthews said. “Also there are a number of Type 2 charter schools that our students are participating in, and those schools receive our (state) dollars, as well as our local dollars.”

-- Staff Writer Holly Duchmann can be reached at 857-2205 or Follow her on Twitter @holly_evamarie.