SMSD enrollment drops 1,500 students below projections, prompting hit to state funding

first_imgShawnee Mission Schools officials say the district has about 1,500 fewer students enrolled this fall than was projected at the start of the year, according to figures presented to the board of education at this month’s regular meeting.It’s another piece of evidence suggesting the stress the COVID-19 pandemic is putting on the district, as new cases continue to rise sharply in Johnson County.SMSD’s Chief Financial Officer Russell Knapp reported to the board last week that a state audit showed the district’s headcount this year to be 26,112, which is 1,504 less than the projected headcount of 27,616, an overall drop of 5.4%.This fall’s final headcount figure is by far the lowest enrollment number for SMSD over the past five years, according to district records, which show the disrict’s final annual enrollment holding steady at slightly more than 27,500 going back to 2016-17.The drop will contribute to an overall loss of at least $3.5 million in state and other funding this academic year, Knapp said.State funding that Kansas public school districts receive is based, in part, on a weighted formula that apportions dollars per student based on a variety of factors, including whether students are eligible to receive free meals, get bilingual education services or are enrolled in career and vocational programs.Knapp said the district’s state revenue shortfall will likely grow in coming months because funding based on special education student enrollment will be calculated in the spring, which Knapp anticipates will also drop.“There’s probably a bit more bad news on the horizon,” he said.SMSD not alone in enrollment declineShawnee Mission isn’t the only district to deal with enrollment declines this fall.In fact, the Kansas Association of School Boards says, overall, there are roughly 17,000 fewer students statewide enrolled in Kansas public schools this year compared to last, a decline of 3.7%. In an online column posted earlier this month, KASB’s Associate Director Mark Tallman said the drop was “significant” but not a surprise, given that the pandemic has made many families nervous about sending their kids to school.“It is not yet clear where those [unenrolled] students are currently attending. Some may have transferred to private schools or are being schooled at home,” Tallman wrote. “Some have transferred to public school virtual programs, which did increase in enrollment. Others may return to the same district after [enrollment is calculated.]”Tallman noted that private schools in Kansas have not yet reported their enrollment, so it’s not yet possible to see if they’ve seen an accompanying rise in headcount. Non-accredited private schools and home schools do not have to report their enrollment to the state.The enrollment declines, Tallman said, are projected to cost public school districts overall about $22 million this year.Shawnee Mission’s enrollment drop appears to be the biggest — both in terms of raw numbers and as a percentage of overall enrollment — compared to its neighbors in Johnson County, though other districts are also reporting projected enrollment declines:In USD 232 in De Soto, enrollment is down 389 students, or 5.1%, from last year. The biggest decline was in younger grades, with elementary school enrollment down 243 fewer students and pre-K enrollment down 74 students.In Blue Valley, enrollment is nearly 3% below projections, at 21,608, nearly 650 students lower than last year. A district spokesperson says administrators plan to share more details about enrollment numbers at the December board of education meeting.In Olathe Schools, enrollment this fall is off 3.5%, falling to 29,244, down from last year’s enrollment of 30,299.Increasing strain on the systemThe news of enrollment loss comes as SMSD struggles to maintain full operations in the face of a worsening pandemic in the Kansas City metro.Growing shortages in certified staff and substitutes prompted Superintendent Mike Fulton last week to announce that all secondary students would return to remote learning after the Thanksgiving break on Monday, Nov. 30, and remain learning virtually through at least the end of the first semester on Jan. 22.Other Johnson County districts — including USD 232, Blue Valley and Olathe — have also announced that secondary students would return to virtual learning after Thanksgiving.“We’d been watching the numbers and it was getting decidedly worse,” Fulton told the SMSD board of education last week. “We had 50 unfilled positions [Monday], and that number is growing. That’s not sustainable.”At the same time, teachers report growing anxiety and challenges inside classrooms and school buildings. They tell the Post that students, increasingly, are missing school, some after having shown symptoms of the disease or being put in quarantine following an exposure.  That tracks with the growing roll of students reported to be in isolation or quarantine on the district’s own COVID-19 dashboard, which, as of Friday, was at more than 820 students overall.In an interview with the Post, three SMSD teachers all agreed that it’s hard to maintain social distancing in schools and keep rooms and surfaces clean consistently. But they also voiced reservations about younger students potentially returning to remote learning, if COVID-19 conditions keep getting worse in Johnson County.“Personally, I don’t want to go back to remote,” Amanda Dirks, a first-grade teacher at Crestview Elementary, said. “Remote is hard for six-year-olds. I feel like we are getting a lot of work done [in person.] When I was doing remote it was frustrating. I had to keep my kids on mute while I taught because it was so loud, them talking or moving their laptops around. So, it felt like I was talking and teaching to a brick wall.”Digging into the numbersThe loss of revenue based on SMSD’s enrollment drop is not as drastic as it could have been. That’s due to how districts’ state funding is calculated.Districts get a base amount of money per student based on overall enrollment, plus additional funding based on weighted metrics intended to account for things like free meals and special education services.To calculate their base — or unweighted — state aid, districts can use the higher of the previous two years’ enrollment. Knapp told the SMSD board last week that the district will use enrollment figures from 2018-2019 (when enrollment was 27,595) to calculate its base amount of aid this year. Therefore, he said, there is no anticipated loss of funding for that figure.But SMSD is projected to lose at least $3.5 million from other revenue sources due to the enrollment decline and other pandemic-related issues, including:$1.67 million from the state’s weighted enrollment calculation;$550,000 from the local option budget, often referred to as districts’ supplemental operating budgets, which is also based on enrollment numbers;$1.02 million from losses in facilities rentals, which have been limited because of pandemic-related restrictions and shutdowns;$224,000 in lost pre-K tuition, following a drop in pre-school enrollment of 76 students.last_img read more

JWLA will host annual reception

first_imgJWLA will host annual reception September 1, 2006 Regular News JWLA will host annual reception The Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association will host its Annual Opening Reception September 6 at The Cellar Grill at the Jacksonville Landing from 5:30-7:30 p.m.The cost is free for JWLA members and $15 for nonmembers. For more information contact Rita Mairs at [email protected] or (904) 630-1512.last_img read more

Medical: Ironwood Cancer & Research Center

first_imgIronwood Cancer & Research CenterGeneral Contractor: TBDArchitect: SmithGroupJJRLocation: 3600 block of S. Rome St., GilbertSize: 25,000The $10M project is an expansion of Ironwood Cancer & Research Center’s clinical operations. The new facility will be patient-centered and will include multiple modalities, such as medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical urology and clinical trials. The facility will have state-of-the-art patient areas, exam rooms, full-service chemotherapy suite, pharmacy and radiation therapy vaults. Expected completion is 4Q 2012.AZRE Magazine May/June 2012last_img read more

Childhood bullying causes worse long-term mental health problems than maltreatment

first_imgShare A new study published in The Lancet Psychiatry shows that children who have been bullied by peers suffer worse in the longer term than those who have been maltreated by adults.The research is led by Professor Dieter Wolke from Warwick’s Department of Psychology and Warwick Medical School. The study was presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in San Diego on Tuesday 28 April.There is already an established link between maltreatment by adults and the mental health consequences for children. Professor Wolke and his team wanted to examine whether long-term mental health issues among victims of bullying were related to having been maltreated by adults as well. They looked at data from 4,026 participants in the UK ALSPAC study (Avon Longtitudinal Study of Parents and Children) and 1,273 participants from the US Great Smoky Mountain Study.For ALSPAC they looked at reports of maltreatment between the ages of 8 weeks and 8.6 years; bullying at ages 8, 10 and 13; and mental health outcomes at age 18. Data from the Great Smoky Mountain Study had reports of maltreatment and bullying between the ages of 9 and 16, and mental health outcomes from 19-25 years old.Professor Wolke said: “The mental health outcomes we were looking for included anxiety, depression or suicidal tendencies. Our results showed those who were bullied were more likely to suffer from mental health problems than those who were maltreated. Being both bullied and maltreated also increased the risk of overall mental health problems, anxiety and depression in both groups.”In the ALSPAC study 8.5% of children reported maltreatment only, 29.7% reported bullying only and 7% reported both maltreatment and bullying. In the Great Smoky Mountain Study, 15% reported maltreatment, 16.3% reported bullying and 9.8% reported maltreatment and bullying.Professor Wolke added: “Being bullied is not a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up; it has serious long-term consequences. It is important for schools, health services and other agencies to work together to reduce bullying and the adverse effects related to it.” Share on Facebook Emailcenter_img Share on Twitter LinkedIn Pinterestlast_img read more

Activity in brain’s thinking and problem-solving center linked to avoiding anxiety

first_imgShare Share on Facebook Pinterest Share on Twitter Boosting activity in brain areas related to thinking and problem-solving may also buffer against worsening anxiety, suggests a new study by Duke University researchers.Using non-invasive brain imaging, the researchers found that people at-risk for anxiety were less likely to develop the disorder if they had higher activity in a region of the brain responsible for complex mental operations. The results may be a step towards tailoring psychological therapies to the specific brain functioning of individual patients.“These findings help reinforce a strategy whereby individuals may be able to improve their emotional functioning — their mood, their anxiety, their experience of depression — not only by directly addressing those phenomena, but also by indirectly improving their general cognitive functioning,” said Ahmad Hariri, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke. The results are published Nov. 17 in the journal Cerebral Cortex.center_img Email LinkedIn Previous findings from Hariri’s group show that people whose brains exhibit a high response to threat and a low response to reward are more at risk of developing symptoms of anxiety and depression over time.In the current work, Hariri and Matthew Scult, a clinical psychology graduate student in the department of psychology and neuroscience at Duke, wanted to investigate whether higher activity in a region of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex could help shield these at-risk individuals from future mental illness.“We wanted to address an area of understanding mental illness that has been neglected, and that is the flip side of risk,” Hariri said. “We are looking for variables that actually confer resiliency and protect individuals from developing problems.”The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is our brain’s “executive control” center, helping us focus our attention and plan complex actions. It also plays a role in emotion regulation, and well-established types of psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy, engage this region of the brain by equipping patients with strategies to reframe or re-evaluate their emotions.The team drew on data from 120 undergraduate students who participated in the Duke Neurogenetics Study. Each participant completed a series of mental health questionnaires and underwent a type of non-invasive brain scan called functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) while engaged in tasks meant to activate specific regions of the brain.The researchers asked each participant to answer simple memory-based math problems to stimulate the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Participants also viewed angry or scared faces to activate a region of the brain called the amygdala, and played a reward-based guessing game to stimulate activity in the brain’s ventral striatum.Scult was particularly interested in “at-risk” individuals with the combination of high threat-related activity in the amygdala and low reward-related activity in the ventral striatum. By comparing participants’ mental health assessments at the time of the brain scans, and in a follow-up occurring on average seven months later, he found that these at-risk individuals were less likely to develop anxiety if they also had high activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.“We found that if you have a higher functioning dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the imbalance in these deeper brain structures is not expressed as changes in mood or anxiety,” Hariri said.The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is especially skilled at adapting to new situations, the researchers say. Individuals whose brains exhibit the at-risk signatures may be more likely to benefit from strategies that boost the brain’s dorsolateral prefrontal activity, including cognitive behavioral therapy, working memory training, or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).But, the researchers warn, the jury is still out on whether many brain-training exercises improve the overall functioning of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, or only hone its ability to complete the specific task being trained. Additional studies on more diverse populations are also needed to confirm their findings.“We are hoping to help improve current mental health treatments by first predicting who is most at-risk so that we can intervene earlier, and second, by using these types of approaches to determine who might benefit from a given therapy,” Scult said.last_img read more

KFC’s north-east party bucket

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Preparations underway for 2015 TOG Regatta

first_imgOrganizers hope improvements to the Ocean Marina Yacht Club facility will draw an even larger fleet to take part in the Top of the Gulf Regatta 2015. After a successful 10th Anniversary of the Top of the Gulf Regatta planning is well under way for the 11th running of the Regatta with the date set for 30th April to 4th May 2015.  Racing for the keelboats and Multihulls will be 1st – 4th May whereas the beach launched fleet and Optimists who compete for the Thai National title will sail a three day Regatta 1st-3rd May.  The registration day for the keelboat classes together with a practice race will be 30th April, as will the opening party.The ownership of the Regatta has been vested in Ocean Property, the owners of Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Na-Jomtien, who have advised that the format of the Regatta will remain basically the same but will evolve over the coming years in response to competitors needs.  Kirati Assakul and William Gasson have been appointed Co-Chairmen of the 2015 Top of the Gulf Regatta Committee to ensure a continuity of the basic concept and operations of the regatta.Extensions to the Marina have been completed with an additional 60 berths, dredging and the addition of a 75-ton Travel Lift.  With the current dredging and the more favourable tides for the 2015 event there should be little impediment with Marina Management input for yachts with a deeper draft such as the TP 52’s to participate, this, with the favourable berthing rates for yachts proceeding to Ko Samui bodes well for an increased participation in 2015.(Source: TOG Regatta)last_img read more