Lancaster school district residents will have more than a vote for president or state representatives and senators when they visit the polls on November 8. At its August 16 meeting, the Lancaster School Board approved giving district residents the opportunity to vote for revoking one of the three district currently running operating levies that provides $925.06 per student and replacing it with a new one that provides $1,725.06 per student.
The Lancaster School has experienced a gradual enrollment decline over the years, meaning a gradual decline in state aid. The current state formula brings in approximately $6067 for each pupil unit to the district. An elementary student equals one pupil unit and a high school (seventh through twelfth grade) student equals 1.2 pupil units.
As for the enrollment decline, the district graduated 23 students last year and brings in 12 kindergarteners this year, a drop in 11 students. In 2003, its total enrollment stood at 203, but has decreased to its current enrollment of 143, according to Lancaster Superintendent Shannon Hunstad. The single digit class sizes within the high school also hurt the district financially, having seven students in eighth grade, nine in ninth grade, and eight in tenth grade.
Hunstad did mention and show how these enrollment numbers are projected to increase though over the next five years. In the 2020-21 school year, the district has a projected enrollment of 157, a 15-student increase in those five years.
For more on this story, see this week’s North Star News!