Enrollment drops at LSC, WLCSC; officials blame the pandemic
TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Indiana (WLFI) – Enrollment is down this year at Lafayette and West Lafayette schools. It comes as schools in Tippecanoe County have welcomed a record number of students.
But officials say TSC’s continued growth during the pandemic is the exception, not the average. Enrollment in state public schools is on the decline, and Lafayette and West Lafayette schools are not immune.
“We think we’re going to bounce back,” Lafayette School Corp said. Supt. The Huddle. “Obviously the pandemic has taken us a hit and again hopefully when that slows down we’ll be back on track.”
TSC enrollment increased by 130 students, or approximately 0.9%, to 13,950. Lafayette School Corp. enrollment. fell by 75 students, or about 1%, to 7,506, while those at West Lafayette Community School Corp. fell by 8 students, or about 0.4%, to 2,253.
That’s based on the number of schools statewide last month.
“We hope this is not something unique to Lafayette School Corporation or our community,” said Huddle.
It’s not. Enrollment is down in public schools across the state, according to figures provided by the Indiana Department of Education.
What’s at stake? The state pays schools thousands of dollars per student.
“Money is obviously a concern,” says Huddle. “We are also concerned that students who are not enrolled in our public or private schools are receiving a quality education? “
As News 18 previously reported, many parents have threatened to remove their children over controversial mask warrants. Did it go well?
“Our feeling is that it had an impact on our registrations, but not in a significant way,” said Huddle.
Schools receive a fraction of the money for students who have been quarantined or who have learned virtually on count day. In Tippecanoe County, that’s about 70 students according to a complicated state formula.
This is an issue that state lawmakers will resolve in the next session.
“So last year we had legislation that kept schools harmless… if they’re in person most of the time, it will be students in person,” said state representative Chris Campbell ( D-District 26).
But what about several students who have chosen a virtual option this year for medical reasons? Huddle hopes the company will be fully reimbursed.
“It’s unfortunate that we are being punished a bit financially for providing lessons to some of our students,” he says.
A second statewide count day occurs in February. State officials use the two-day count figures to adjust funding for schools.