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Enrollment in BE school district goes up again

Enrollment is up once again in the Brandon-Evansville School District.

At this time last year, there were 465 students and this year, there are 474. That's an increase of nine students in one year, and 17 students from the start of the 2016-17 school year, which had 457 students.

Superintendent Don Peschel shared enrollment numbers at the regular school board meeting Monday night. He also provided totals from the last day of school for the 2017-18 school year (June 1) and the total number of students at the start of the 2018-19 school year (Sept. 11). Enrollment increased by 13 students — from 461 on June 1 to 474 on Sept. 11.

"Our enrollment numbers change daily," Peschel told the board members, adding that he would be providing updates to the board on a more frequent basis.

The largest class sizes are at the elementary level, with the smallest class sizes in grades 10-12.

Here's a look at grade level comparisons from last year to this year at the start of each school year (the first number is last year, the second number is this year and the change):

• Kindergarten: 46 — 30 (-16)

• First: 37 — 50 (+13)

• Second: 46 — 37 (-9)

• Third: 31 — 48 (+17)

• Fourth: 40 — 32 (-8)

• Fifth: 38 — 41 (+3)

• Sixth: 41 — 41 (0)

• Seventh: 35 — 41 (+6)

• Eighth: 35 — 36 (-1)

• Ninth: 29 — 34 (+5)

• 10th: 31 — 29 (-2)

• 11th: 27 — 29 (+2)

• 12th: 29 — 26 (-3)

• Total: 465 — 474 (+9)

In other action

School board members set the preliminary levy at Monday's meeting. Vicki Ellis, Brandon-Evansville business manager, said the district typically levies the maximum amount and that there will still be time for adjustments as the final levy amount won't be approved until December.

This year's levy is currently set at $879,409., while next year's levy was set at $924,369 — an increase of $44,960 or 5.1 percent.

The increase, according to Ellis, is mostly due to the enrollment increase.

The total levy is typically divided among the general fund, community service fund, debt service and OPEB debt service, which is for retirement. Just like last year, the money was only divided between the general fund and community service.

Here's a look at the individual amounts:

General fund levy — $886,832.90 ($841,602.19 last year, which is an 5.4 percent increase).

Community service fund levy — $37,536.26 ($37,807 last year, which was a 0.72 percent decrease).

Discussion items

Peschel briefly discussed looking at daycare options for before and after school, possibly for kindergarten through 6th grade, but said there needs to be more discussions before any action is taken.

Prior to coming to the B-E district, Peschel was part of putting together a daycare program in his previous school district. He hopes to bring more information to the board at the next school board meeting, which is set for Oct. 15.

New doors have been ordered for the Early Childhood Family Education area, as well as a new shop door, he said. The cost for both will be around $14,000.

A water heater at the Brandon campus also needs to get fixed and Peschel said cost estimates are around $13,000.

Peschel said he was notified that the city of Evansville would like to grade and resurface the parking lot and what part the school district would play in the project. Peschel wasn't sure what the district could do, because it doesn't own the land.

"Vicki (Ellis) and I will have to look at the dollars and then we will bring something back to the board in October," Peschel said, adding that it is going to be an expensive project.

Lastly, he told board members that roofers from Buttweilers Do-All were at the Evansville campus Monday and he said, "they found some things that are more disturbing." He read the report to the board members, which stated that due to issues with insulation, the cost to fix/replace the roof is $18,000 more than the original bid from last spring, which was just shy of $40,000.

Peschel said he would "consult with Ellis about dollars" and that he wouldn't have to get board approval again.

"It just needs to get done," he said.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in more than 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

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