Low Enrollment Could Affect Onekama School’s State Funding

Onekama Consolidated Schools are seeing lower than expected enrollment this school year and they say that’s threatening their state funding.

The district ended their 2018-2019 school year with 405 students but started back up in the fall with just 373.

That slight difference was enough for the state to determine that they may not have enough students to quality for per-pupil funding.

The state calculates school funding by multiplying the number of students by the price per pupil and subtracting property taxes. But if local property taxes in the district are more than the state’s projected revenue, a district can be classified as “out of formula” and not qualify for funding.

Interim superintendent Mark Parsons counted on the per-pupil funding, and without it he might be losing a hefty sum.

“The first number that we saw was a possibility of $50,000 less,” said Parsons. “That’s most of one staff member.”

However, he says in the long run, being “out of formula” and just relying on property taxes for funding might be lucrative.

“We would be collecting a greater amount than we would with the membership,” said Parsons. “It would end up being to our advantage.”

This year, he may rely on harvesting trees from a forest owned by the school to make some extra money.

He’s crunching numbers, looking at the budget, and waiting on an official student count to see what can be done for this school year.