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North Platte Public Schools has seen a steady decline in enrollment over the last five years and this year the number was 110 students lower than 2018-19.

In 2015-16, enrollment was at 4,135 with consecutive years following of 4,016, 4,013 and 3,994. Although the number has yet to be verified by the state audit, the number of students currently enrolled for 2019-20 is 3,884. The report was given to the NPPS Board of Education at its regular meeting on Monday.

“At first grade, 68% of the students that left moved out of North Platte to a different district in Nebraska and 38% of them moved out of state,” said Executive Director of Finance Stuart Simpson. “We really don’t know why. We can make assumptions as far as what has been happening in North Platte. Parents are moving their students for new jobs in another location.”

Simpson said it is still uncertain as to how it will affect state aid until the state issues its report.

“On Oct. 1 our data centers are required to pull student information and turn around and submit it to the state so that they can make sure what we’re reporting for student enrollment is accurate,” Simpson said. “NPPS has submitted that information and now awaits the state’s verification.”

All schools across the state are required to submit the information to ensure there are no duplications between schools.

“We know as we talked to the finance committee where that falls state aid wise, but we still are waiting for when (Annual Financial Reports) are uploaded where we get the average cost per pupil, which then will fluctuate,” Simpson said. “Plus, we’re trying to increase our poverty program costs, so in that it will all play a part in what’s happening.”

Administration also takes a closer look at the changes at each school.

“First and foremost we look at what has changed in those buildings,” Simpson said. “Up or down enrollment in (specific) grades so we have a better idea of grade level and staffing for Kevin (Mills, HR director) as he goes into next year’s hiring season.”

Though there was an overall decline, the district did have an increase in 12th grade enrollment.

“Do you have any thoughts on why we picked up 29 seniors this year?” asked board member Jo Ann Lundgreen.

“That is probably more of a Scott (Siegel) question and we can ask him, but I can speculate,” Simpson said. “What usually happens is juniors from last year may take a different direction in life. They may go somewhere else and realize, maybe I need to come back, I need to get those credits and I need to graduate.”

» The board voted to recognize the North Platte Education Association as the bargaining agent for the 2021-22 contract year.

» The board approved the school Resources Officer Interlocal Cooperative Agreement for 2019-20.

» The board approved the purchase of a 12-passenger transit van from Bill Summers. There were two bids submitted with the Summers bid coming in at $24,000 and a bid from Janssen coming in at $26,472.

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