There was good news/bad news for the Cherokee School Board at its regular monthly meeting on October 20th, as Cherokee Superintendent Dr. John Chalstrom discussed enrollment numbers.
Chalstrom advised the Board that the District's certified enrollment for the 2008-09 school year was 1,001.4 students, which is an increase of two students over the previous year. That modest spike in enrollment translated into $234,000 new money for the District, according to Chalstrom. That was the good news.
The bad news, cautioned Chalstrom, is that the enrollment trend for incoming kindergarten students in the next two years is in the 65-70 range. Currenty, the senior class numbers 101 students, and the junior class 95. When they graduate and are "replaced" by the smaller incoming classes, a sharp drop in enrollment will occur.
"It's something to keep an eye on," said Chalstrom to the Board. "In the next two years there could possibly be a dramatic enrollment decline if the trends continue. We need to prepare for the bad times. We're in good (financial) position currently and have sufficient cash reserves. But if the trend becomes reality, those two large drops in enrollment would drastically affect us."
Current and past Cherokee School Boards and administrators have an excellent track record of solid, financial stewardship, looking into the future and pulling in the reins and making cuts when budget forecasts warrant. This effective money management has kept the District in the black year after year when many other Districts face economic crises.
In other action, the Board approved a contract for Jolene Hultgren as head varsity girls track and field coach, and approved a contract for Neil Phipps as assistant varsity girls track and field coach.
The Board also approved a contract for Mollie Lundell as freshman girls basketball coach, and Michael Rundell as freshman boys basketball coach.
In a special Public Hearing before the regular meeting Monday night, the Board approved the school calendar for 2009-10, and approved a request for a waiver to begin the school year before September 1, 2009.
Chalstrom also advised the Board that a majority of parents prefer Washington High School parents/teachers conferences to be held in the gymnasium, as was done last year, instead of in the respective teachers' classrooms.
"Parents agree it saves them time and is much more convenient for them in the gymnasium," said Chalstrom. If any parents want a private conference with a teacher, they simply have to request it, explained Chalstrom.
The Board also affirmed various District policies that remained unchanged from the past, including policies concerning class size/class grouping; school ceremonies and observances; animals in the classroom; student production of materials and services; student field trips and excursions; insufficient classroom space; student guidance and counseling program; and student health services.