Roswell Independent School District Superintendent Tom Burris expects a modest boost in state funding for the 2014-15 school year based on preliminary 40th day enrollment numbers for this school year.
The 40th day enrollment benchmark is not factored into state funding calculations, but can predict enrollment numbers later in the school year.
The New Mexico Public Education Department averages enrollments at the 80th and 120th day marks to help determine the operating costs of instruction in districts. Burris said that operating costs make up the “lion’s share” of the district’s total budget.
Burris said enrollment numbers also help to ensure teacher to student ratios are manageable.
The enrollment numbers were released to district administrators at the end of the day Wednesday and are based on enrollment data from Tuesday. The data show an increase of 91 students since the 40th day mark last year, from 10,197 students in the 2012-13 school year to 10,288 in 2013-14.
If the district shows a growth in student population of more than one percent, it will receive additional funding during the school year in which growth occurs.
Burris expects an increase in state funding of about $500,000 for next school year to cover the increase in student population.
“And really, it’s not that much,” Burris said, explaining that the amount is small compared to the district’s overall operating budget.
In the 2012-13 school year, funding for operations was $64,593,393.03.
Operating costs are not tied directly to the number of students enrolled in a district. Rather, the funding is determined by units, or the amount of state funding a student is predicted to require. Students who require more funding to support their needs receive more units in budgeting.
For example, a special needs student is associated with more units than a student who does not fall into that category. A high school sophomore is a higher unit student than a kindergardener because the high school student requires more resources to complete his or her school work, such as more expensive text books or lab equipment for science class.
Burris said student enrollment tends to reflect the economic conditions of the area where a district is located. He attributed the current increase in students to the health of the local oil industry.
“I think that this is a sign of economic development,” he said.