Milford Schools class sizes just right

By Debbie Marques, a candidate for Board of Education on Nov. 3. Debbie was a member of the Board for two terms, from 2006 to 2014, and served as president for two years. For more information about Debbie or to contact her, please visit marques4milfordboe.com.

Class size is always a concern for parents, especially for those with children in grades Kindergarten through 6. The District just released the class sizes for this school year and they are well within the recommended class size.

Milford School District 2015 Average Class Size
Kindergarten:       19.6 (a.m.), 23.8 (p.m.)
First grade:          21.2
Second grade:     22.4
Third grade:         23.7
Fourth grade:       23.1
Fifth grade:          26.4
Sixth grade:         25.0

I have seen open enrollment mentioned as a factor in increasing class size in the Milford School District. This simply is not true. Students are accepted for slots in each Milford school and grade on a year-to-year basis. This is so the superintendent can manage where there is space for students within the District and plug in students applying for open enrollment accordingly. Open enrollment is actually a positive for the Milford School District for two reasons: it equalizes class sizes and brings in significant revenue.

When a District is set up in a neighborhood school format–like Milford–there is a good chance that each elementary school will have a different number of students in each grade level. Open enrollment allows the superintendent to fill in holes to try and even out the size of each grade level.

Open enrollment has actually brought revenue into the District because for the past few years, the money allocated by the Department of Education for each student ($5,800 per student per year in 2015, $5,900 in 2016, and $6,000 in 2017) follows the student. That is, if a student lives in the West Clermont School District but applies to Milford for open enrollment and is accepted, the money from the state for that student goes to Milford, rather than West Clermont.

The revenue received for open enrollment since it began in fiscal year 2011 has grown:

For grades K-12
2011       $264,152.50
2012       $484,852.80
2013       $576,009.15
2014       $601,823.22
2015       $857,403.00

The amount of revenue for this past school year–$857,403.00–is close to what would be one mill on the ballot. This helps further extend the length of time the District can go before having to come back to taxpayers for an operating levy.

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5 thoughts on “Milford Schools class sizes just right

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  4. What I am not seeing is the expense for these students. We are receiving $5800 (2015) for open enrollment student on avg, as per your data, that does not clear the $8523 (2013) the department of Ed lists as Milfords per student expense average. Taking your numbers and the Dept. Of Ed numbers, aren’t we then at a $2700 loss per each student? Which is a $416,619 loss for the district. In my students 4th grade class they alone have 3 open enrollment students of which I am aware. That alone would, on average mean each of the other buildings only have 1 per grade and I have heard, but not verified, that not all buildings have any room for open enrollment. I feel as though our building is increasing class sizes more than other buildings due to open enrollment. I am not opposed to open enrollment per se, but can there not be a fee charged or something to offset the expense? Or only allow so many per grade per school?

    • I apologize, I just saw your comment had come through and not been approved. I’ll explain, and I’ll let Debbie know there is a comment on her article.

      The two numbers you are using are not comparable figures. The cost/student from the state is an after-the-fact number that takes all expenses for the prior year and divides by the number of students. This includes everything: teachers, desks, books, etc.

      However, when you’re looking at the actual incremental cost to educate one or a handful of students, it is not nearly the cost/student reported by the state. With Open Enrollment, we put students in existing classrooms to fill holes: the teacher is already there; the desk is available; the book has been purchased. The only additional cost is for incremental supplies, such as copies or incidentals used in the classroom. This is very little, significantly less than $1,000 per student.

      That means we are actually offsetting costs by adding these students. This helps reduce the cost for all our taxpayers, delaying levy needs and stretching funds.

      If you have 3 OE students in 4th grade, you must be in Seipelt. Each school has a different number of students, and each grade is different – we do not put students in classes that are at capacity. From the information I have, Seipelt has 54 4th graders and 3 classes, which is an average of 18 per class (but class sizes may not be equal based on how they have divided students). Boyd & Mulberry have no OE students in 4th grade since their classes do not have any open space.

      Seipelt in general has the smallest class sizes in the district, and by far for 4th grade.

      As far as charging, state laws prohibit school districts from charging for Open Enrollment students; instead, the state money that follows those students is the only compensation we are able to receive.

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