One statistic is obvious by new figures released by the Armstrong School District. Overall student enrollment is on the decline.
Total student enrollment in 2010 was 5,490. In 2011, it dropped to 5,389. It declined to 5,338 in 2012, and then slightly to 5,335 in 2013. In 2014, there were 5,210 students, falling to 5,118 by 2015. This past school year showed a total enrollment of only 5,047.
In high schools, West Shamokin saw a drop in students from 2016 to 2017 – from 627 students down to 601 – while Armstrong High School increased by five students from 1584 when it opened in 2015 to 1589 by the end of the 2016-2017 school year. Â
In the elementary schools, Lenape Elementary and Shannock stayed relatively the same the last two years. Dayton dropped from 248 to 234, Elderton from 232 to 216, and West Hills Primary from 705 to 655. The only school that showed an increase was West Hills Intermediate, while rose from 521 to 540.
The number of students enrolling at Lenape Vo-Tech has continued to rise. In 2010, there were 267. However, by 2016, it had increased to 297.
Another significant increase was enrollment in cyber school offered by ASD. While only 17 students received online education in 2010, that number went up to 50 this past year.
Other trends included overspending four of the past five years in the General Fund. Costs of funding special education showed the District lost between $5 million and $7 million per year over the past 5 years. Healthcare rates increased by 7.5%. Debt payments will increase this year because of new debt that was added to the schedule. A one-time Math text book adoption increased the budget by $650,000 this year.
Building and departmental discretionary budgets were frozen this year. School directors said they will be looking at other ways to cut expenditures throughout the year.
The 2017-2018 budget takes effect on July 1, 2017.