Enrollment keeps going up in school district

Auburn School District's enrollment continues to trend upward.

Auburn School District’s enrollment continues to trend upward.

Cindi Blansfield, the district’s assistant superintendent for business and operations, said the district had 15,663 students enrolled Oct. 1, which is 266 more than projected.

That is significant because Blansfield said the district receives about $6,000 per full-time equivalent (FTE) student enrolled. ASD had 15,295 FTE students.

The variation between head count and FTE occurs when a student, such as one enrolled in Running Start, does not attend classes in ASD all day. There used to be a greater difference between the two counts, but all ASD kindergarten students, with the exception of some at Lakeland Hills Elementary, attend class for an entire school day.

Blansfield said growth was stable throughout the district.

“There was no dramatic, explosive growth,” she said. “It was pretty steady and predicted.”

There are provisions in ASD’s contract with the Auburn Education Association to maintain class sizes at certain levels. Because of that, the district might need to hire more teachers. Blansfield said the district might have to do that for another reason, as well.

“I think what will happen is as the state is reducing class size … that has an impact on space in our elementary schools,” she said, adding that ASD officials might look into building two new elementary schools in the future. “As a district, we put together an ad hoc committee last year, given state-required changes in class size.”

Blansfield expects enrollment growth to continue. She said district officials use a variety of data, including birth rates in King and Pierce counties during the last 13 years, to project enrollment five years into the future. For the 2020-21 school year, Blansfield said district officials expect more than 16,500 students.

About Blansfield

Blansfield succeeded deputy superintendent Mike Newman, who retired in June. She previously was the district’s executive director of career and college readiness. This is her second tenure within ASD. Blansfield was part of the original staff when Auburn Riverside High School opened in 1995 and taught business and marketing classes there until she was hired as a program supervisor at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction in August 2001. Three years later, Blansfield returned to the district as its director of secondary student learning.

“A lot of my experiences as a program manager kind of set that foundation for me,” she said. “It was an incredible asset coming into this role.”

Blansfield earned her bachelor’s degree in education in 1992 from Eastern Washington University, but she said she remained interested in business because that was her original major before she switched as a junior. She also acquired her superintendent credential from Seattle University.

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