By PETER HUSSMANN
The Newton School District continues to shed student population numbers, information released by state education officials indicate, and the district now ranks among the top five in total student numbers lost over the last five year period.
The Iowa Department of Education released its annual statewide school enrollment figures today that showed Newton with a certified enrollment of 3,006 in the current school year. That's down 30 from last year's student population numbers in the district and 261 below the student population levels seen in the 2008-2009 school year, an 8 percent decline.
Only four other school districts in the state saw larger student number losses over the last five years led by Cedar Rapids at 851, Clinton at 266, Council Bluffs at 267 and Davenport at 262.
Other school districts in Jasper County also reported student population declines this year and over the five-year period.
Colfax-Mingo School District's five-year student population levels declined 15.5 percent to 732 this school year, a loss of 134 students from 2008 school year and down 40 from student population levels last school year.
The Baxter School District saw a drop of 32 students this school year to 353 with its five-year trend showing a 7.9 percent decrease through the loss of 30 students from the 2008-09 school year.
Lynnville-Sully School District's student numbers declined by 10 in the current school year to 436. Its five-year trend shows a loss of 34 student or 7.2 percent.
Only the PCM School District saw student number gains this year and over the five-year period. Student numbers were up 9 to 1,026 this year and have increased 1 (0.1 percent) from the 1,025 student enrollment figures reported in the 2008 school year.
Statewide, the number of students enrolled in Iowa's public schools increased in the 2012-13 school year for the first time in 17 years. A total of 476,245 students were enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade this school year, an increase of 2,741 students or 0.6 percent.
"This statewide increase is refreshing news for Iowa after years of declining enrollment," said Jay Pennington, chief of the Iowa Department of Education's Bureau of Information and Analysis. "However, the reality is that this increase most likely is temporary. We see pockets of enrollment growth in the urban and suburban areas of the state, while the long-term trends show rural areas continue to experience declinng enrollment."
More specifically, Pennington said enrollment declined in 167 school districts and enrollment climbed in 170 districts.
Under state law, certified enrollment is used in the formula that determines state funding for public school districts. Certified enrollment is based on the number of students living in each school district. It also includes the "weighting" or additional funding for students in certain programs, such as students who receive assistance in learning the English language.
School district take the enrollment counts the first day of October each school year. Official numbers are confirmed by Iowa Department of Education.
2011-12 Enrollment - 385
2012-13 Enrollment - 353
Percent Decrease - 8.2
2008-09 Enrollment - 383
Percent Decrease - 7.9
2011-12 Enrollment - 772
2012-13 Enrollment - 732
Percent Decrease - 5.2
2008-09 Enrollment - 866
Percent Decrease - 15.5
2011-12 Enrollment - 446
2012-13 Enrollment - 436
Percent Decrease - 2.3
2008-09 Enrollment - 470
Percent Decrease - 7.2
2011-12 Enrollment - 3,036
2012-13 Enrollment - 3,006
Percent Decrease - 1.0
2008-09 Enrollment - 3,267
Percent Decrease - 8.0
2011-12 Enrollment - 1,017
2012-13 Enrollment - 1,026
Percent Increase - 0.9
2008-09 Enrollment - 1,025
Percent Increase - 0.1