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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

BASIC BIITTNER : By the Numbers

Friday, May 9, 2008

I had the chance recently to peruse some interesting numbers, and thought I'd share them with you. The numbers I'm referring to are from the "BEDS Document," and are available on the Iowa High School Athletic Association web site, www.iahsaa.org.

The BEDS document is prepared each year, and consists of the enrollment figures for Grades 9-11 in each of the 395 school districts in Iowa. These figures are used by the IHSAA to determine the classifications (A,1A, 2A,3A,4A ) for Iowa high school sports for the following year. The 2007-2008 BEDS figures, for example, were used to determine the classifications for next school year (2008-2009).

I will not list the info. for all the Districts here. If you want to see them all, you may certainly go to the website. I will, however, list a few items of interest to me, and you can make of them what you will.

The largest School District in Iowa is Valley, West Des Moines, which had an enrollment of 1972 in grades 9-11 this year. Two other Des Moines schools, not surprisingly, follow at 2-3: East and Lincoln with 1702 and 1644, respectively. To find a school in the western half of the state, you need to go all the way down to #16 - Council Bluffs, Abraham Lincoln, with 1143 9-11 students (down 73 from last year). Sioux City North ranks #20 with 1103, down 60 from last year.

Area schools list the following numbers - Cherokee Washington has 272 students, an increase of 16 from last year's figure. South O'Brien lists 173 students, down 12 from last years' report; Galva-Holstein is at 121, down 14; River Valley is at 120, down 21; Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn shows 105, down 8 from a year ago; and Aurelia has 66, down 24 from last year.

In all, of the 392 Districts in Iowa, 235 (60%) showed a decrease in their BEDS count from last year; 145 (37%) showed an increase ; seven schools showed exactly the same count, and there are five districts listed this year which were not last year (a result of some new sharing agreements).

The largest loss in enrollment, in numbers, was in the Cedar Rapids Washington District, which lost 186 students from last year's figure; Dubuque Senior is down 107 students; Ottumwa 84; Iowa City West 77; Mason City 76; Council Bluffs Lincoln 73; Davenport Central 70; and Ankeny 66.

The Districts with the largest increase (in numbers) were Iowa City,City High, 98; Waukee, 76; Clear Creek-Amana, 67; Johnston, 57; Xavier, Cedar Rapids, 56; Prairie, Cedar Rapids, 51; Jefferson, Cedar Rapids, 51; and Ames, 35.

Lakes Conference schools Spencer (-32), Emmetsburg (-16), Spirit Lake (-16) and Storm Lake (-8) showed a decrease in their 9-11 enrollment , while Sheldon increased 9 students and Estherville-Lincoln Central 10; LeMars and Western Christian, like Cherokee, showed an increase of 16- 20 students each.

Probably a more important figure would be the percentage of increase/decrease. The following Districts show the largest percentage of decrease in their Grade 9-11 enrollment figures this year (keep in mind, one abnormally large or small graduating class can really affect these figures).

The largest decrease by percentage was Walnut Ridge Baptist Academy in Waterloo, which had a 32.56% decrease. Walnut Ridge is the fifth smallest school in Iowa, so this represented a drop from 43 to 29 students. The second biggest decrease, unfortunately, was the Aurelia School District, whose drop from 90 on the BEDS document to 66 represents a 26.67% decrease. Aurelia's 2008 Graduating Class, which was represented on last year's BEDS, but not this year's, has 39 members - much higher than the average of 22 students per class in this year's 9-11 grades, so that certainly had an effect on the numbers By the way, when I was in the 11th grade in Aurelia, the 9-11 enrollment was approximately 66 per grade - not 66 for three grades.

As Bob Dylan sang 40+ years ago, "The Times They Are a-Changin."

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner