For the first time since the six suburban school districts began operation in August 2014, the weighted average attendance total for the Shelby County system and other public schools within the county district went up slightly in the just completed fiscal year rather than declining.
The numbers reflect that public schools located within the county district will receive a little larger share of county and local sales tax funding than the previous year.
And the suburban districts overall will receive a slightly smaller share.
It is unclear whether the year’s numbers represent the beginning of a trend or just a one-year anomaly.
The weighted percentage of attendance in public schools in the county district was 77.17 for the year compared to 77.09 the previous year and 77.65 the year before.
In the 2014-2015 school year, the county district’s weighted full-time equivalent average daily attendance (WFTEADA) percentage was 79.25. Publicly funded schools in the county district are those run by the county school system, the state’s Achievement School District and several charter schools.
Dr. Joris Ray, county schools superintendent, filed the school districts’ WFTEADA figures with Shelby County Trustee Regina Morrison Newman in March. His letter says the figures are “based on the official certification by the Tennessee Department of Education.”
The figures are higher than regular enrollment numbers. Under the state’s formula, the numbers of students are weighted differently in different grades in kindergarten through grade 12.
There also is a higher weighting for some special education students and for students in career and technical education.
Thus, school districts with a higher percentage of students in middle and high school than in elementary school and with higher numbers of special education and career and technical program students receive higher funding.
The new WFTEADA percentages (with the previous year’s percentages in parentheses) are:
Shelby – 77.17 (77.09)
Arlington – 3.35 (3.31)
Bartlett – 6.12 (6.20)
Collierville –6.26 (6.29)
Germantown – 4.20 (4.24)
Lakeland – 1.19 (1.15)
Millington – 1.71 (1.72)
The WFTEADA numbers for the year in the school districts (with the previous year’s numbers in parentheses) are:
Shelby –136,256 (134,753)
Arlington – 5,919 (5,782)
Bartlett – 10,804 (10,836)
Collierville – 11,044 (11,000)
Germantown – 7,420 (7,405)
Lakeland – 2,106 (2,017)
Millington – 3,013 (2,997)
Total – 176,562 (174,790)
Although the school district ADA funding numbers are among the community’s basic figures, The Commercial Appeal, the Daily Memphian and the area’s other major news outlets do not keep up with them and report them.