Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Test scores are an emerging concern at Moose Lake Schools

As enrollment numbers remain 'fairly steady,' school board turns attention to improving test scores


October 11, 2018

When the Moose Lake School District was promoting the new school before people voted on the $34.7 million bond referendum, one reason given for a new school was that more students would come to Moose Lake to school.

That hasn’t happened.

The old school was flooded in June 2012, when the water of Moosehead Lake and Moose Horn River rose to a height of 19 feet. Water surrounded the elementary wing of the school, which was built in 1988, and seeped into the basement level of the high school portion of the building.

The media center was flooded, as was the elevator shaft.

However, those damages were repaired. And yet, parents took children out of the school.

“After the flood, we lost students,” said Superintendent Robert Indihar in an interview last week. “Our total enrollment before the flood was 674.”

According to the information supplied by Indihar, the enrollment numbers over the next several years were 643, 633, 649, 653, 648, 653, and 651.

The last two numbers are the enrollment for last year and this current year in the new school.

“We did not see an increase in students in the new building like many people felt would happen, but many schools in this area are seeing declining enrollment right now,” said Indihar. “We seem to be holding our enrollment steady.”

With open enrollment, students can attend school in another school district. In the Moose Lake School District, more students come into the school district than leave it to attend other schools.

The numbers, starting in 2012, are as follows: 25, 32, 36, 17, 34, 36, 40 and 49.

“This is the number of students who open enroll to the Moose Lake school minus the numbers that leave us,” said Indihar. “The districts that we get the most students from are Willow River (115 this year) and East Central (45 this year).

“The district that we lose the most students to is Barnum (86). We believe that we have 31 home school students in the district. This is not a firm number because some families have not turned in the required paperwork.”

The school board keeps a close eye on the enrollment numbers. The school district receives approximately $7,000 per student per year, said Indihar.

“I am a little bit encouraged with our enrollment numbers,” Indihar concluded. “They are remaining fairly steady but that does not translate to a higher number of students yet.”

He added that the test scores data from last spring will be presented to the school board at the monthly board meeting on Oct. 15. That is one of the incentives for open enrollment students to attend a school other than in their resident school district.

“We are disappointed in the test scores,” he said. “That’s what we are focusing on now. Everyone is working hard to find a solution to that problem. We have been noticing the decline in the test scores the last couple of years. This year, it really stands out.”


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