Ki-Be enrollment decline might cost district money

A dip in enrollment in Kiona-Benton City School District could cost the district money.

The district has 40 fewer students for the 2010-11 school year. If that trend holds, the district could lose money because the state determines how much basic education money districts receive on their enrollment.

The Ki-Be district had 1,488 students as of Oct. 1, compared with 1,528 the same time last year.

Superintendent Rom Castilleja said if more students come during the school year, the district will be fine. If not, he said the district could end up about 60 students under budget.

A drop of that many students could be significant depending on what the Legislature decides to cut in the upcoming legislative session, Castilleja said.

The district will be able to weather some money cuts by using reserve funds if needed this year, he said. The district, which has a $15 million budget, has about $1.2 million in reserves.

Castilleja said the biggest drop in enrollment was 33 students at the high school, which graduated more students last year than the freshman class coming in.

The district is trying to increase enrollment by offering online courses and a home school program, as well as an alternative high school that graduates 25 to 30 students a year, Castilleja said.