Source: Sherman Publications

Brandon, Goodrich lose students in count

by Susan Bromley

September 29, 2010

The number of students in both the Brandon and Goodrich school districts fell again this year.

After student count day Wednesday, it was revealed Goodrich has about 2,140 students, 43 less than the count of 2,183 in 2009. The elementary schools suffered losses, with Oaktree going from 491 students in 2009 to 455 and Reid going from 435 students last year to 398 this year. The high school and middle school each gained 15 students to offset the elementary losses. The number of Schools of Choice students changed from 46 in 2009 to 86 in 2010.

“We had budgeted for a drop of 35 and we lost eight more,” said Goodrich Superintendent John Fazer. “Unfortunately, we had a number of people leave the district because of poor economic conditions.”

The decrease of students in Goodrich means a loss of $314,000 in revenue. Fazer said that money will have to come out of the fund balance, since the district already made about $1 million in cuts last year.

In Brandon, Superintendent Lorrie McMahon said the district lost about 35 students, going from 3,375 students in 2009 to 3,340 this year. She did not have statistics for each building. The number of Schools of Choice students remains at about 385. The lower number of students means a loss of about $220,000 to $260,000 for Brandon, which received $7,208 in per-pupil funding last school year.

While the loss in students is disappointing, McMahon is relieved it wasn’t the 120 student decrease that had been projected.

“We’d really like it if our numbers held even, but that isn’t necessarily possible these days,” she said. “The loss in students is indicative of two things— the economic times and people leaving to find work elsewhere, and also a drop in the birth rate in Michigan.”

There is good news for both districts, however; on Wednesday, the state passed a jobs bill that will restore $154 in per-pupil funding for the 2010-2011 school year. Also approved was a one-time only increase for each district varying from $23-$46 per pupil depending on the district’s current funding. McMahon expects that Brandon will receive the maximum amount as one of the districts with the lowest per-pupil funding.

Still, she and other district officials have been warned by state officials not to spend the money, as it is being given this year only. McMahon said she will discuss the funds with the board to determine how they should handle it.