Mt. Pleasant school district's certified enrollment drops by twenty, holds organizational meeting

MT. PLEASANT — Mt. Pleasant Community School District’s enrollment has dropped by about 20 students.

At the Nov. 18 school board meeting, Superintendent John Henriksen gave an update on the certified enrollment of the district. According to a summary comparison of enrollment from the previous year, resident students attending the district has dropped 32.7 students, with 12.60 more students attending schools outside of the district. The numbers were based on attendance recorded on the first school day in October.

Henriksen also gave an update on weighted enrollment, which counts students with special needs in the district and for whom the district gets extra funding to support the individualized education plans created for those students with extra needs. In total, the district has gone from 268.82 weighted students last year to 267.54 students this year.

Despite lower enrollment numbers, Henriksen also reviewed funding sources including the anticipated state-level education funding measure that would provide an extra 2 percent in funding per-pupil. In addition, another budget guarantee provided by the state that ensures schools receive 1 percent more than its previous year’s regular program dollars would provide a guaranteed $137,234 of “new money,” according to Henriksen’s calculations.

During the meeting, art instructors from the district also gave a presentation on their programs in different buildings. Rebecca Bos, Michelle Peterson, Dawn Wiley and Wanda Broeker explained how their programs not only allow students to express themselves creatively, but are often helping them develop skills like problem solving and learning to work with peers. Broeker, who teaches art at Salem and Van Allen Elementary School noted that art classes are “a good outlet for kids who may not excel in other classrooms.”

“It’s a way for them to excel in another way,” Broeker added on why she feels its important the district supports its arts programs. During their presentation, the teachers brought up some potential updates to the Salem Elementary School art area, including a designated sink within her teaching space, would improve the art class experience for students.

Following the regular school board meeting, the board held their organizational meeting to swear in new members, which included Angela Blint from District III, Chuck Andrew, an incumbent from District IV, and at-large members Joshua Maher and Jennifer Crull. Crull was subsequently voted in as the new board president with Andrew being selected as the vice president. During the organizational meeting, the board also determined committee assignments for the site, finance and policy committees and voted to continue working with Alhers and Cooney as their primary legal council and Gruhn Law as their secondary. The board also voted to keep high school principal Todd Leichty and Van Allen Elementary School principal Don LeBlanc as the Level 1 Investigator and alternate if any allegations abuse of students by school employees and volunteers need to be investigated.