Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Schools Adjusting to Shifting Enrollments

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Schools Adjusting to Shifting Enrollments

Article excerpt

Mandarin Oaks Elementary School no longer has a computer

teacher.

The position was eliminated Sept. 13 when the school received

its final budget for the 1996-1997 school year.

Eliminating staff is a new reality at some Mandarin schools.

Steady increases in student population in past years forced

schools to hire more teachers and adopt year-round schedules and

multitrack calendars.

But because enrollment at most Mandarin schools fell below

projections, those schools ended up with less state funding.

Schools get about $2,200 a year per student from the state.

In most cases, a declining budget means cutting staff, said

Bill Jackson, Duval County public schools budget director.

Schools begin the year with a working budget based on projected

enrollment figures. Final budgets were determined Sept. 11 based

on the school's Sept. 4 enrollment.

"It's always a stressful time for schools, wondering and

worrying about where people will go. It's pretty emotional,"

Jackson said.

Here's a look at budget adjustments principals made in Mandarin

area schools.

Mandarin High School: The school lost 240 students because of

an attendance boundary change made in April.

Personnel cuts were unavoidable but made simple because several

teachers resigned this summer, Principal Dalton Epting said.

Epting didn't fill the positions.

The school lost one teacher each for computers, social studies,

science, English and physical education.

Four of the five teachers had resigned or transferred to other

schools, Epting said.

"If you plan properly, you just don't fill positions when

teachers leave. It worked out perfectly," Epting said. "I was

really worried it would be worse."

Mandarin Middle School: Principal Walter Carr said four

teaching positions and a clerk's position were cut through

attrition. The school lost 73 students.

He also cut the school's supply budget, which provides teaching

materials, custodial equipment, cleaning supplies and paper.

"We'll still be tight but everyone will remain employed here.

We may run out of supplies by the end of the year, but I really

think we'll be OK," he said.

Mandarin Oaks Elementary School: Though Principal Jo Doty said

overcrowding has eased with the loss of 80 students, she's not

happy about losing funding. …

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