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Superintendent says Farmington schools ‘full’ in most grades, leading to some possible transfers being turned away

by Lynn Kutter | September 10, 2022 at 8:00 a.m.
Classroom tile / photo courtesy of Getty Images

FARMINGTON -- The Farmington School District, three weeks into the year, already is denying requests from out-of-district students to transfer into the district, Superintendent John Laffoon told School Board members at their Aug. 29 meeting.

"We're full right now in a lot of areas, and we're turning back students," Laffoon said. "We're full in most grade levels, but we are still taking transfers in a few others."

According to information from the administration office, Farmington received 137 applications in the spring from students wanting to transfer into Farmington through the school choice law. Farmington had 39 students wanting to transfer out through school choice.

Of the 137 applications, five were rescinded by parents and 22 were denied by Farmington because of capacity.

In all, through school choice for 2022-23, Farmington accepted 55 kindergarten students, five in first grade, six in second grade, 10 in third grade, five in fourth grade, seven in fifth grade, five in sixth grade, 15 in seventh grade, 10 in eighth grade, 10 in ninth grade, seven in 10th grade, two in 11th grade and none in 12th grade.

Laffoon said Farmington's student enrollment is made up of about 25% from school choice students who have transferred to Farmington over the years.

Laffoon gave out the latest student enrollment figures but said he considers this time of year "false enrollment time" because there's still a lot of student movement. Farmington ended 2121-22 at 2,558 enrollment. Enrollment on Aug. 29 was 2,700 for all buildings.

In action items, the School Board approved the budget for the 2022–23 school year, which Laffoon said has additional money for increased costs for technology, utilities, fuel, maintenance and some custodial expenses.

Laffoon thanked the board for giving him the direction to build up the district's legal balance. That has enabled the district to give raises, construct buildings and acquire land for a new school, Laffoon said.

"We're going to continue work to address that legal balance and keep it up," he said.

The 2022-23 budget includes raises for all employees in November, including an increase in the administrative indexes, Laffoon said. He said he believes the district will be able to sustain raises because of property assessments and savings through solar energy. The district has a guaranteed annual savings amount once the solar arrays have been turned on.

The 2022-23 budget shows that Farmington has a beginning balance of $1.5 million. It projects to receive $24 million in revenue, including $7.7 million from property taxes and $13.5 million from the state in equalization aid.

Expenses in the budget are projected at $23.8 million and include $11 million for the teacher salary fund, $9.9 million for the operating fund and $2.7 million for debt service.

The district projects to end the year with a balance of $1.6 million.

After a brief discussion, the board voted to grant a waiver of a disqualifying offense and allow the school to hire Charles Coleman to work in the food service area.

Laffoon explained that Coleman's background check found a forgery conviction from 1994.

Wendy Burrus, food service director, said she has spoken to and met with Coleman on numerous occasions and does not believe he will be a threat to students. She said the forged check was made when he was 22 years old to purchase food and all restitution and fees have been paid.

Coleman will be under Burrus' supervision and be on a 30-day probationary period.

He has worked in a restaurant before and his pastor provided a personal reference for him, Burrus said. Her recommendation was that the board grant Coleman a waiver.

State law allows Coleman the opportunity to ask for a waiver and it has to be discussed in an open meeting, Laffoon said.

In other action, the board:

• Voted to have school nurse Audrey Eldridge continue as the covid point of contact.

• Approved a bid for wireless access points from Howerton Technology Solutions for the junior high addition for $30,653. Farmington will be responsible for about 30% of this. The balance comes from e-rate funds.

• Approved a second bid from Howerton for about $31,000 for 15 projectors for the junior high addition.

• Granted a 30-foot easement for a cell tower that will be located in a wooded area behind the bus barn. The city of Farmington already approved a permit for this cell tower.

Print Headline: Farmington schools ‘full’ in most grades, board told


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