School News

County’s school state aid will decline next year as families choose Charter School options

by Kate Evans

Morgan County School Treasurer Ann Bell said in her March 7 mid-year financial review that her preliminary computations show that state aid to Morgan County Schools will decline $81,690 if the number of students enrolled in Charter Schools remains at 13 students.

Morgan County Schools full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment for the 2022-2023 school year decreased by 19.82 students, which includes the 13 Charter School students, she said.

The projected state aid funding loss is based on how many students are enrolled in Charter Schools this year, which could go up or down by November, Bell noted. She said that the 2023-2024 school year will be the first time that Charter School student enrollment is factored into state aid.  School state aid amounts are based on enrollment numbers for the previous year.

Morgan County Schools had an official head count of 2,179 students as of October 1, 2022.

Enrollment for each school is reported as:

–Berkeley Springs High School – 621

–Warm Springs Middle School – 480

— Widmyer Elementary – 447

–Warm Springs Intermediate School – 357

–Paw Paw Elementary – 81

–Paw Paw High School – 72.

Full-time enrollment (FTE) is calculated with partial percentage figures that represent students that are only taking several courses as opposed to a full course load.

Official school enrollment is based on October 1 student numbers while Charter School students are counted in November.

Five of the Charter School students that are in the school system this year are enrolled in a brick and mortar Charter School and eight of them are enrolled in a virtual Charter School, Bell said.

Since Charter School students are considered Morgan County Schools students and are enrolled in the West Virginia Education Information System (WVEIS), Morgan County Schools will receive the allocation for Charter School students initially but will have to pay it back to the state once the number of Charter School students is determined in November, Bell said.

The state will send the county less state aid every month starting in December to cover the Charter School student allocation.

The state aid deduction for Charter School students is 90% of the average state aid per student amount, which is $6,284, Bell said.  State aid also gets decreased with home-schooled students if they apply for the Hope Scholarship, but that’s at a much smaller percentage, she noted.

Bell said that the state’s procedures and guidelines for Charter School students in school district’s budgets are still being worked out since it’s the first year for the allocation.