FWCS Becomes Largest School System in Indiana

By Scott Sarvay
By Max Resnik

September 18, 2012 Updated Sep 18, 2012 at 6:28 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Fort Wayne Community Schools, in terms of enrollment, is now the largest school system in the state.

FWCS, which lost 352 students in the 2012-2013 school year, now has a total enrollment of 30,622 students. It surpasses the Indianapolis Public Schools, which reported a loss of 1,500 students for the 2012-2013 school year and now has an enrollment of 30,128 students.

Ascending to the top of the enrollment ranks will not positively influence state funding for FWCS however. Funding is based on the number of students in a district, and as FWCS loses 352 students, funding losses could amount to close to $2 million with an average cost of about $6,000 per student.

Krista Stockman, spokeswoman with FWCS, reminds that the numbers are only preliminary. She also says the disparity between FWCS and IPS is actually smaller because in IPS’ initial count, based on average daily membership (ADM), kindergarten students were counted as half-students and preschoolers were not counted at all. Including all students, their actual count is 30,408 students.

Stockman says FWCS has been anticipating the jump as their enrollment has remained relatively steady while IPS has dealt with its own issues. She says there will not be many changes for parents, students and teachers.

“For us, it doesn’t change how we act, what we do in our classrooms each and every day. Our focus is still on individual students, whether we’re at 10 students or 30,000 students, so it doesn’t change in terms of that.”

Stockman says changes that could occur are with the amount influence the school system has on the state level and the relationships it has with legislators.

“We have been working very closely with legislators making sure that the Department of Education understands our unique needs because we are a large urban district that has been successful and hasn't been losing students, which is the traditional course for urban districts.”

Stockman says there will not be any celebrations over the rise to the number one enroller of students.

“That's not something that we're celebrating. Indianapolis has—they're in a different environment than we are and they've lost a lot of students and that's not something that we're going to celebrate.”

Of the 352 students lost by FWCS, it is unclear now how many were lost to the state’s voucher program. Stockman says 392 students, in the 2011-2012 school year, were lost the state’s voucher program. Overall, FWCS saw a net gain of 10 students returning from charter schools this year.

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