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Date Posted: 10:36:57 10/01/09 Thu
Author: Donald F. Valtman
Subject: A hundred thousand here . . .

a hundred thousand there, and pretty soon were talking about REAL money! What am I referring to? GCPSS student enrollments -- that's what!

Why are student enrollments important? Because each enrolled student = state MONEY. Oversimplified explanation: the QBE money each Georgia public school system receives from the state is based on the number of full-time enrolled students.

Who determines how many full-time students are enrolled at each Georgia public school system? Don't know (maybe some CPOGer can explain exactly how this system works). What is known is that two (2) times each school year -- in October and the following March -- each public school system does an ACTUAL count of full-time enrolled students and reports the results to the GaDoE. GCPSS's results can be viewed at http://app.doe.K12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fte_pack_enrollgrade.entry_form.

If you check out this link, you'll find that GCPSS has been reporting FEWER K-12 full-time students each school year going forward since 2007! Yet when it comes to annual budgets (GCPSS's 'forecast' as to what it plans to spend 1 YEAR OUT) or E-SPLOSTs (GCPSS's 'forecast' of its 5 YEAR OUT capital building program), GCPSS routinely 'forecasts' MORE enrolled students (162,236 for the current school year) and continues to build MORE classrooms/schools (to accomodate a 183,000 'forecasted' student body when the current E-SPLOST expires in 2012). The problem is these GCPSS 'forecasts' are WAY OFF BASE! Maybe the AJ/C knows something we don't because they've reported GCPSS's current enrollment as 155,690 students (09/30/09 article entitled Lost lessons gain notice). But the unquestionable proof-of-the-pudding will be GCPSS's ACTUAL October student count, which is due out in the next couple weeks!

GCPSS currently gets $4,000+/- from the state for each full-time enrolled student. Perhaps Gwinnett taxpayers should be more concerned what GCPSS's lack of forecasting expertise has/will cost them than the dinky $850,000 that the state has allocated to the Ivy Prep Charter School. And if any Gwinnett taxpayer is concerned about out-of-county students attending Ivy Prep, GCPSS only will be perpetuating a long history of knowingly subsidizing out-of-county students who attend Gwinnett County schools. Think Gwinnett Tech: when it was GCPSS owned/operated about about 1/3rd of its student body were out-of-county students!

Finally, SO WHAT if GCPSS annual budgets decline in synch with fewer students -- isn't this the way annual budgets are supposed to work? Or does the 'new normal' mean that GCPSS should receive MORE tax money even though it's 'educating fewer students?

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