Marengo county schools enrollment on the rise

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 26, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &8212; With 30 more students enrolled this year, Marengo County Schools was the only system in the county to show significant growth this year. Adding two more students this month, the system boasts a total enrollment of 1,539 students, which could mean additional federal funds for the system, Superintendent Luke Hallmark said Thursday.

The system, which is the second largest in the county behind Demopolis City Schools, can expect to receive $139,000 in federal money that is labeled current unit money. Hallmark explained each fiscal year&8217;s budget is based on the previous year&8217;s enrollment numbers, which may not always reflect the enrollment for the time at which the funds are being used. To compensate for this, the federal government awards addition funds to go into a system&8217;s foundation fund to account for the growth.

But not all systems are at a positive point, Hallmark said. A meeting with the state finance coordinator called together at least 30 systems in Alabama did not currently have the equivalent of a one-month operating budget at their immediate disposal. The meeting was to determine how to keep these schools out of proration.

Hallmark said the last time the state had to prorate funds they cut money for basic necessities, which they hope to avoid doing as the economy continues to struggle. For Marengo County Schools, Hallmark said the system has rainy day funds at their disposal in case funds do get cut.

In other news, the system:

4Received $100,000 of the $1.8 million awarded to 14 school systems in the state for use in technology and professional development.

4Purchased a driver education car, a Ford Taurus, for Marengo High School through a grant program that covers 80 percent of the cost. Now all four schools have both a vehicle and a certified teacher for driver&8217;s education.

4Wrote a grant proposal to receive funds for at risk students, for use in tutoring or other incentives toward completion of the Alabama High School Graduation Exam.

4Showed growth in the DIBELS testing, which is done throughout the year. For example, 76 percent kindergartners throughout the system reached their benchmarks in the most recent test. The test will be administered at least once more this year.