Quincy School District enrollment declines 94 from last year

Monroe Elementary School kindergarten teacher Michelle Herman reads "Pete the Cat" to her crowded class Wednesday. Herman's kindergarten class, with 28 kids, is one of the largest classes in the Quincy School District. (H-W Photo/Michael Kipley)
Posted: Aug. 30, 2013 8:57 am Updated: Sep. 13, 2013 9:20 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The Quincy School District's enrollment is down 94 students from last year.

Total enrollment on Wednesday, the sixth day of the 2013 school year, stood at 6,496 compared with 6,590 on the sixth day last year, Aug. 27, 2012. That's a decline of 1.4 percent.

Figures provided by the district show enrollment is down 29 at Quincy High School and 26 at Quincy Junior High School, but it's up 15 at Baldwin Intermediate School.

Enrollment also is down at five of the district's seven elementary schools. Only Adams Elementary School and Washington Elementary school showed gains, up 13 and 16, respectively.

Adams is now the biggest elementary school in the district with 407 students. It takes over the top spot from Madison, which lost 39 students and now is in second place with an enrollment of 381 -- down from 420 last year.

Also losing enrollment were Berrian, down 11, to 206; Dewey, down 2, to 247; Ellington, down 10, to 320; and Monroe, down 14, to 256.

Even though Monroe's total student population declined slightly, the school started the year with some of the biggest classes in the district. According to figures presented to the School Board last week, Monroe had one kindergarten class with 28 students and another with 27. It also had one third-grade class with 28 kids.

After monitoring the situation to see whether any changes would occur in a week's time, Superintendent Steve Cobb said this week he will hire another teacher at Monroe to lower the school's average class sizes, which were particularly a concern at the kindergarten level.

"We're addressing the issue," Cobb said. "You always have to sit back and monitor these numbers because they can fluctuate. You can have kids move away, and you can have kids move in. You just want to make sure and make the right decisions."

Brian Trowbridge, the new principal of Monroe School, said he's glad to see the district taking steps to hire an additional teacher.

"Any time you can reduce class sizes, it's going to be a win-win for the kids and the instructors," Trowbridge said. "Any time you're investing in teachers inside the classroom, I think that's what's best for kids."

The enrollment figures released by the district also reflect a change involving a new alternative school for special education students. In the past, Chaddock offered the program for the district. But this year, the district launched its own program in the lower level of the central office building. The program is called ABC, and it has 23 students, down one from last year's Chaddock-run program.

The figures reported by the district only cover kindergarten through 12th grade and do not include the Early Childhood Center, which serves 190 students in a pre-kindergarten program and 314 in a federally funded Head Start program. The center's combined enrollment is up 15 from last year, with virtually all of that occurring in the pre-K program, Director Julie Schuckman said.

Schuckman noted that the Head Start program lost $89,000 in funding this year because of the federal sequestration situation. However, the center is serving the same number of Head Start students as last year. Schuckman said the school did some "rearranging" of rooms to accommodate the loss of funding.

"We upped the size of classrooms by one student, and we rearranged how we deliver some special ed services," she said, resulting in the elimination of several paraprofessional positions but no teachers.

"We're still keeping the quality of services," she said.