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Published: Friday, 9/15/2006

TPS enrollment dips in first count

Toledo Public Schools has continued along the downward trend of losing students and faces another budget deficit, but Interim Superintendent John Foley said the system still has a wide array of options for parents.

During a taping yesterday of The Editors television program, Mr. Foley said the system is down about 1,000 students at the start of the school year from the same period last year.

The district's first Friday afternoon count totaled 27,273 students, down from last year's total of 28,451.

Mr. Foley noted that the decrease is not as great as predicted over the summer. He also expects enrollment to increase by the official state count in October since attendance during the first week of school is traditionally low.

"Over the last five years, we have lost almost 7,000 students," he said. "About half of them go to charter schools and half of them do not."

Some parents move out of the district for the suburbs, he added.

The loss of students affects the district's budget.

Every lost child means about $5,000 less in state subsidy money and $25,000 less for its new building construction program.

Mr. Foley said he recommended placing a 7.99-mill operating levy on the November ballot, but the Toledo Board of Education failed to agree on Aug. 21 whether to place the tax before voters.

"We are going to continue to face deficits, we are going to have to continue to reduce the budget until we see new money coming in," he said.

The board told Mr. Foley to study the possibility of placing a levy on the February ballot.

Mr. Foley was questioned by Marilou Johanek, of The Blade editorial board.

The Editors will air at 9 tonight on WGTE-TV, Channel 30, and 12:30 p.m. Sunday on WBGU-TV, Channel 27.

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