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Brown Co. schools face declining enrollment

Posted at 8:49 PM, Oct 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-01 20:49:21-04

BROWN COUNTY, Ind. -- School districts across the state are facing low enrollment problems which translate into less funding for schools, and Brown County says it's a challenge they're trying to deal with.

School leaders say Brown County schools are down 90 students this year compared to last. They expect to lose $500,000 in state funding based on the number of students they have enrolled for the 2018-19 school year and they’re still trying to figure out how they’ll make up for such a huge loss.

“We are committed to not reducing programming,” said Superintendent Dr. Laura Hammack. “But we do have to look at how we can best translate the number of personnel to now the number of boys and girls.”

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Dr. Hammack says they have no plans to cut teachers or staff, but they will not be replacing positions once staff members choose to leave or retire.

Most of the decline in enrollment can be explained by looking at the county’s demographics. Right now, 76 percent of Brown County residents are over 45 years old.

“We have also seen a 26% decline in our birthrate in our county,” said Dr. Hammack. “So you think about that regarding your kindergarten class, one out of every four classrooms would be gone.”

Another factor, Hammack says, is that Brown County is largely rural and schools might be hard to get to in terms of accessibility or driving distance.

“We have incredible teachers, incredible innovative programming and we also have very small class sizes as a result,” said Hammack. “So if you’re looking for class sizes of 16-18 students choose Brown County.

The Department of Education says their enrollment numbers for the 2018 school year will not be released until later this month.

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