Pasco officials amend enrollment growth figures
Pasco County's student population is definitely on the rise. Just not as fast as district officials originally thought.
Less than a day after the School Board discussed how it might deal with a jump of nearly 1,400 students, the planning department issued a mea culpa, saying it had incorrectly made comparisons using numbers from 2011-12, instead of from 2012-13. That made the increases look bigger than they were.
Enrollment actually was up year-to-year by 522 students, planning director Chris Williams said in an e-mail to the district leadership team. That's better than the decrease of 501 FTE's that the state had projected, and also higher than the 115 student rise that the district had put forth in early planning, but nowhere near the level that had worried board members.
Assistant superintendent Ray Gadd told the Gradebook that the revised number actually brought a sigh of relief to the third floor, which wasn't necessarily ready to see another round of "exponential growth" in the district that once was among the nation's fastest growers. At the same time, he said, the smaller increase will boost the district budget, although not as much as funding for 1,400 added students would have.
"This is a good news bad news story," Gadd wrote in an e-mail to the board. "On the one hand that kind of growth was a little scary but on the other hand it is FTE money we will not see. I am not sure how much of it state would have funded anyway. Please accept my apology as well."
The district takes its next student count on the 20th day of classes. The state bases its funding and class size analysis on its 40-day count.
[*This post has been updated to provide additional explanation for the reasons behind the discrepancies.]