Enrollment growth in the West Ada School District is not over 1,000 students this year as originally thought.

Over the first 10 days of school, average daily attendance was 37,669 students — up by 805 students from the same time frame last year, West Ada Chief Financial Officer Debbie Arstein said.

Overall enrollment (not just attendance) was 39,042 on Sept. 6, an increase of 891 students compared to the same day last year. Enrollment dropped by 319 students from the first day of school on Aug. 23 to Sept. 6.

The attendance growth means West Ada can collect $4.1 million this year through the emergency fund levy, an increase of $1.1 million from last year, Arstein said.

The state allows school districts to run an emergency levy on all taxable property value without voter approval (Idaho Code 33-805). The revenue, based on attendance numbers, funds growth-related needs.

The school board certified the $4.1 million levy amount Tuesday, and the district will submit the requested amount to Ada and Canyon counties. That was supposed to be done by Sept. 11 — the second Monday in September — but both counties granted an extension.

When budgeting for this school year, West Ada only projected a $2.75 million emergency levy. The actual amount is $1.4 million higher.

West Ada’s neighbor, the Nampa School District, will not take an emergency levy this year because student enrollment is declining, according to the Idaho Press-Tribune. Superintendent Paula Kellerer said Tuesday the district was down about 50 to 60 students this year. The Nampa School District serves about 14,500 students, according to its website.

West Ada will collect an estimated $70.7 million in property tax revenue this budget year. Most of that will go toward the bond, supplemental levy and plant facility levy, which were all approved by voters.

The district’s levy rate is $377 per $100,000 of taxable property value. A district resident who owns $100,000 of taxable property value will pay $377 to the school district for the year. Of that, $22 is for the emergency levy.

The taxable property value in the West Ada School District is $18.8 billion, up 10.9 percent from last year, Arstein said. Most of that property is in Ada County.

West Ada gained more new students this year than it did last year. Last year’s average daily attendance growth over the first 10 days of school was 624 students, Arstein said, compared with 805 students this year.

Attendance grew by:

  • 460 students in high school
  • 241 students in middle school
  • 104 students in elementary school.

Seeing that more than half of the growth was in high schools puzzled some school board members Tuesday. Communications officer Eric Exline said it’s the result of students moving their way up through the system.

Board Chairman Philip Neuhoff pointed out the declining birth rate and noted that this year’s kindergartners were born at the “tail end” of the recession. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that the number of babies born in the United States declined in 2015 and 2016, and the nation’s general fertility rate has trended downward since 2007, other than in 2014.


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