Superintendent Vicki McGuire told the school board Monday there are 833 students enrolled at the corporation, surpassing the state’s prediction of 810. It’s also an increase of about 10 students over last September, but the school corporation expects to get less than $5,000 per student in base-level funding, a decrease of more than eight percent from last school year. That means the corporation’s expecting a budget shortfall of $470,000.
McGuire says there is an option available, though, “We do have a decent rainy day [fund], and that is exactly what we need to use it for. We’re going to have some rainy days.”
Board member William Sonnemaker says the state had money available, “It was like $12,000 per student. Now we’re getting $4,900 or $5,000. Where’s the other $7,000 going? I feel we have to find out where that other seven is going and make the parents and the community aware of what’s happening. You know, if we got 12 thousand or even 10 of it, we wouldn’t have any funding problems.”
The corporation’s also working to attract families by improving its marketing efforts. They’ve set up a marketing team made up of teachers and parents, which is exploring the idea of creating a unified brand for the school system. Team member Shelly Schrimsher says branding gives the corporation a chance to take control of what people think of it, “They’re going to see that we are doing something. Right now they do see you guys sitting in here. People don’t know. They make assumptions. They don’t communicate. They play the telephone game and rely on gossip. And that’s just not doing it for you. You have to make your branding, your professional branding, outweigh your negative gossip because every organization, even the academy, has negativity.”
She says Culver Community Schools has the chance to compete with other schools, “If we do what I’d like to do, we would, branding-wise, way surpass Plymouth and Argos and Knox right now. This would jump us ahead. We would be leading them.”
The team won’t receive funding from the school board but plans to raise money through grants, fundraisers, and help from local businesses. The school board agreed to let them proceed with raising funds and building a brand.