Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Drop in students may mean loss of funding

Staff report

Portales Municipal Schools is down nearly 100 students, to 2,793, from a year ago, according to 40-day attendance figures provided by the school district.

Superintendent Johnnie Cain said the 3.3 percent drop from last year’s 40-day figure of 2,887 reflects a trend being experienced statewide outside of the oil boom areas.

“I really think the biggest part of it is the economy,” Cain said. “People go where the jobs are.

“We’ve had several families that went to Hobbs and we also lost a few when the peanut plant shut down.”

He said the number of military family students appears to be about the same.

Districts tally up enrollment figures at the 40th, 80th and 120th day point. The district’s per-pupil funding from the State Equalization Guarantee formula is based on average attendance of the 80th and 120th day numbers. Larry Behrens, spokesman for the Public Education Department, said the 40-day figures are important measure to establish appropriate funding for districts.

At the end of the 2013-2014 school year the district had 2,803 students, Cain said.

Cain said the district “would most likely lose funding” as a result of the drop in enrollment.

— The Santa Fe New Mexican contributed to this report.