Natrona School District Enrollment, and Revenue, Expected to Grow
For the first time in years, the Natrona County School District's expects an increase in students and a stable revenue stream for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the treasurer of the board of trustees said Monday.
That, coupled with a stabilizing economy, means the district won't need to cut its budget, Ray Catellier said.
"What we're seeing is that enrollment is kind of leveling out and we're no longer falling like we had been in the past few years," Catellier said.
The district anticipates an enrollment increase in 110 students, but it's not consistent across all grade levels, though, Catellier said.
"We have increased student enrollment in the high school and middle school levels," he said. "We're not seeing an increase in elementary school enrollment yet."
That could be a problem later because no increase in elementary school students now might result in no increase in middle school and high school students later.
Because the state's allocation of money to school districts hinges largely on enrollment, the projected 110 additional students translates into an increase in about five full-time positions, Catellier said. Those new employees could be teachers or other staff, he added.
Projected revenues for the next fiscal year seem stable, too, and the Legislature did a cost adjustment that led to an additional $2.2 million in revenue to the district, Catallier said. "That hasn't happened in quite a while."
In recent years, the downturn in the economy has resulted in drastic losses in state funding, district budget cuts, an exodus of families and their school-age children, which in turn forced the district to close schools, and a loss of employees through attrition.
While the immediate future looks good, Catellier said neither he nor the board of trustees are taking anything for granted.
"We're still going to be very vigilant, and look for efficiencies wherever we can, but right now we're not looking at any additional reductions," Catellier said.