Sioux Central enrollment steady, Laurens - Marathon sees decrease

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

By ELIJAH DECIOUS

Pilot Tribune Staff

Sioux Centralís school district is seeing relatively flat enrollment this year, while Laurens Marathonís district saw a 12 percent decrease in enrollment at the count certification date for 2018.

Statistics provided by Supt. Scott Williamson show an increase of eight students served in Sioux Central, up to 641 from last yearís 633, an increase of about 1 percent. Laurens Marathon has dropped 19 students, from 150 to 131, a 12 percent loss.

Williamson said both districtsí numbers were around expectations for this year. Sioux Centralís losses in most categories were negated by non-residents added from open enrollment.

The superintendent said a few factors are contributing to the trends. Population declines in both districts havenít been helpful, and Pocahontas and Calhoun Counties are the oldest by age in the United States, he said. He is hopeful that open positions and growth in the manufacturing sector will increase the number of young families in the area.

Flat or decreased enrollment can place restraints on personnel and expenditures on programs that come from the general fund. Williamson says the school boards make assumptions many years out to make decisions from those assumptions. Marginal one percent raises in state funding are expected to compound the challenges of flat or declining growth.

Williamson also said he has not seen any demographic changes, but that the free and reduced-cost meal qualifying population has dropped over the last several years.