Records show school enrollment on the rise in St. John Parish

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 16, 2006


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE-School enrollment recorded an official increase once again in student numbers as St. John Parish submitted its figures to the Department of Education to determine the amount of MFP funding for the school year.

October 1, 2006 was the deadline to apply for MFP funding for the public school system. The number of students enrolled in the system determines how much state funding is provided for the school year.

Ann LaBorde, a spokesperson for St. John Parish schools said, &#8220Our total enrollment that qualifies for MFP funding is 6,542 for the 2006-2007 school year.”

The total enrollment in parish schools is 6,806 and includes Head Start and Pre-K programs, a 133 difference. Neither Pre-K nor Head Start programs qualify for the funding.

&#8220At the end of last year, there were 6,764 students in the parish, including hurricane evacuees,” LaBorde said.

Immediately after Hurricane Katrina, St. John Parish schools recorded an enrollment of 7,529 when qualifying for MFP funds on Oct. 1, 2005. The number of students before Katrina was 6,425.

Superintendent of St. John Parish Schools, Michael Coburn said, &#8220The St. John Parish School System has seen a steady gradual increase in students since the 2002-2003 school year.” St. John recorded a decline in enrollment between Fall 2002 and Fall 2003 but has been up every year since.

According to background information provided by the Department of Education, MFP stands for Minimum Foundation Program and is primarily focused on equalizing state and local spending in the schools. More funding is provided for large numbers of at-risk students, students with exceptionalities and gifted and talented students.

This year extra money is also provided to compensate for the number of hurricane displaced students within the school system. There are approximately 225 displaced students still in St. John parish schools.

&#8220MFP funding accounts for nearly two-thirds of our operating cost every year, it covers the cost of almost everything,” said Felix Boughton, executive director of business and finance.

&#8220Funding is calculated not only by the number of students enrolled in school, but by local sales tax revenue for the previous year,” Boughton said.