Music teacher James Baldwin sings with first and second graders. (Emily Files)

Music teacher James Baldwin sings with first and second graders. (Emily Files)

Preliminary student enrollment numbers show that the Skagway School District is in for a $280,000 increase in state funding.

In Alaska, schools receive a per-student allocation from the state. The number of students for which a district receives money is determined over four weeks in September and October. That count period ended last week, and Superintendent Josh Coughran said enrollment averaged to 100.85 students.

“That’s really good news,” Coughran said at a Monday school board meeting. “I appreciate all the families that have had faith to bring kids here every day. It’s great to see that spike in enrollment. This is certainly something that I anticipated, but not nearly this quickly.”

The district will report the student numbers to the state for verification. Coughran says he’s confident it will hold. He says the Department of Education has told him that in a situation like this, 100.85 would be rounded up to 101 in terms of funding allocated.

101 is an important number for school funding. If enrollment hits that mark, districts receive a larger per-student amount. Coughran says for Skagway, it will total just shy of a million dollars. That’s compared to about $700,000 the district received last year.

The school board plans to hold a community workshop in January where they will discuss what to use the funding increase for. Some ideas include a foreign language program, increased arts education or additional teachers. There is also a survey on the school district’s website to gather community input.

Coughran says the state verification of enrollment numbers should be complete by the end of next week.

The last time enrollment averaged more than 100 in the district was during the 2007-2008 school year. Preschool numbers indicate that the student body may continue to grow in the next few years.