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Lake Orion down 40 students



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November 10, 2010 - Student count estimates for this year were right on the money, according to school officials.

With the help of two outside consulting firms, Lake Orion predicted having 40 fewer students this year and that's exactly what they got.

According to Jillynn Keppler, acting superintendent, the district is pleased with the student population dropping so little since Lake Orion is one of the last districts with closed enrollment.

"Reducing 40 out of 7,800 students is a very low percentage," she said. "I think that's because people still want to be in our community."

Students are counted twice every year, once in the fall and once in the spring. State funding is based on a blend of those two numbers. Last year, the blended count was 7,838. This year's count is 7,798.

Currently, the district gets around $8,150 per student, so the loss of 40 students equals a loss of $325,920.

But the loss doesn't come unexpected. School Board President Mary Jo Burchart said losing 40 students "is right on, in terms of how we budgeted."

To predict student populations, the two outside consulting firms examine factors like county birth rates, student movement from fifth to sixth and eighth to ninth grades, local housing markets, unemployment rates and Lake Orion-specific issues like status of the General Motors assembly plant.

After getting each prediction, the district then makes an educated guess on student numbers to use for their own budgeting.

According to Linda Lewis, Oxford Community Schools official, 42 Lake Orion students currently attend Oxford schools. The district is a "school of choice" meaning they'll accept kids from anywhere, not just within district boundaries. The district currently has a total of 213 students coming from other areas.

But, Keppler says, those numbers have no correlation with the loss of 40 Lake Orion students this year.

"We have students who have been in Oxford for a long time. It's not like all of a sudden there are 42 when there weren't any a year ago," said Keppler.

She added that it's the people living near district boundaries who tend to make the move.

Reporter, Lake Orion Review
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