MERCED -- By Tuesday, all of Merced County's 51,000 schoolchildren should be back in classes. Enrollment in the county's 20 school districts this fall generally is flat, with modest increases in a few cases.
The Sun-Star asked school officials about their starting dates, new enrollment and student totals for the last school year, numbers of faculty and staff members, if there are furlough days coming, any new programs and budget figures:
About 4,611 students return to Atwater Elementary School District campuses Tuesday; that's four more pupils from June figures. The Atwater district has 209 certificated staff members and 285 classified or nonteaching support employees.
"We have expanded by one additional class section in middle school band, English and math," Superintendent Melinda Hennes said. "There are some minor adjustments, which include programs moving from one site to another. Basically the same programs offered as in the past. No program reductions."
School started Wednesday with 310 students; Superintendent Brian Ballenger said that's up from the 301 pupils who started a year ago. Staffing is the same, with 17 certificated employees and 15 classified employees.
At Ballico School, all sixth- through eighth-grade students are being given Netbooks to use and take home, although they still have textbooks. This will be expanded to fourth- and fifth-graders for use only at school.
The Ballico-Cressey School District budget for this fall, at $1.75 million for the general fund and $500,000 for other programs, is the same as the last school year, Ballenger said.
School started Thursday with the Delhi Unified School District. There are 2,700 students, up slightly from the last school year, Superintendent Brian Stephens said.
There are 135 Delhi teachers and administrators, and about 100 classified workers. This represents about six fewer certificated employees and about eight fewer classified employees.
The Junior Academy for Medical Science is starting its second year with 30 seventh- and eighth-graders. A link program has been started at Delhi High School, where sophomores through seniors mentor new freshmen.
At the new high school, Stephens said, band and choir programs have been added, along with a school newspaper and advanced art classes. Delhi's $20 million budget is down $4 million to $5 million from several years ago.
At the Dos Palos-Oro Loma Unified School District, 2,302 students started Thursday, compared with 2,244 students at the end of the last school year. For the 2012-2013 school year, 95.5 faculty members are on duty, one less than last year, Superintendent Brian Walker said.
Walker said at this point the district has not negotiated any furlough concessions with its bargaining units, although negotiations continue.
The Dos Palos district's 2012-2013 budget is $17,151,784, compared with $19,534,512 for the 2011- 2012 school year, interim chief budget official Dan Silva said.
School began Wednesday in the El Nido Elementary School District, with 190 students, nine teachers and 19 classified employees. Four furlough days are planned, and there are no new programs, Superintendent-Principal Rae Ann Jimenez said.
In the Gustine Unified School District, about 1,751 students are on campus, up 30 to 40 students from last spring's figures, Superintendent Gail McWilliams said.
There are 88 certificated teachers-administrators and 84 classified employees. McWilliams said seven furlough days have been negotiated if the November tax initiative fails.