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Enrollment Up in Dayton Schools for First Time in 15 Years

Dayton School Board Superintendent Jay Brewer is very proud of the fact that enrollment is up in his district, as reported at the regular school board meeting last Wednesday night. Even though the numbers are not ambitious, Brewer knows where they have been and how far they have come.
 
“Our attendance hit bottom a few years ago at 828 students,” explained Brewer. “Fifteen to seventeen years ago our attendance was 1300 students, so to see 828 was very discouraging. But I think we have turned the corner because we finished last year at 845, and this year we are hovering around 900 students. This is the first time we have seen any sign of growth in fifteen or sixteen years."
 
Brewer thinks the change has come because the city has put in some nice amenities which are encouraging people with children to move to the city.
 
The board reviewed and approved the employment of four new employees, one part time for the district and three others for Lincoln Elementary. They also okayed the payment of all regular bills as well as credit card, time sheets and travel expenses.
 
Also approved was the working budget for fiscal year 2015, which, with total revenues has a balance of $7,839,326. One of the line items on the budget is the contingency fund, or as Brewer refers to it, the rainy day fund, which is required by the state to be 2 percent. Three years ago, when Brewer took over as Superintendent, the contingency fund was only 2.7 percent, an amount that almost put the school district on the financial watch list.
 
“Anyone in any school district will tell you 2.7 percent is scary,” said Brewer. “The last superintendent left us in very bad shape but he is in jail now, and we are moving upward. Nowour contingency fund is 6 percent, or about $415,000, which is a much more comfortable spot.”
 
The board approved a ‘shortened school day waiver’ which allows special education students with medical needs to leave school to receive medical care but still be counted as present for the school day.
 
Finally, the employee of the month was announced as Angela Buschle, a special education teacher at Dayton High School, and the Athlete of the month was Megan Downard, a soccer player who is a freshman at Dayton High School.
 
Story & photo by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor