prepared by financial officer David Blowman and presented to the
school board shows that, during the 2003-04 academic year, Hanby
took in 115 by-choice students while losing 35. That net gain of
80 topped 60 at Claymont Intermediate, 59 at Brandywine High and
58 at Brandywood.
showed more students coming in than leaving in each of the six
years during which the law has been on the books. Its net gain
ranged from 11during the first year to 96 in 2002-03, when Hanby
came in second to Concord High's 98. Brandywood's net gains also
led in each of the previous years with the most recent year's
topping the previous high of 44 in 2000-01.
figures include transfers among Brandywine schools as well as
students coming to Brandywine from other districts.
which had a reported enrollment of 658 last academic year, is
the largest of three middle schools in the district. Brandywood,
with 407 last year, is second in size, behind Mount Pleasant,
among the eight elementary schools.
Brandywood are among five schools being considered for possible
closure under the two scenarios being submitted to the school
board by its facilities taskforce. Supporters of keeping Hanby
open were the most numerous and most vocal of testifiers at
three recent public hearings on that matter.
presentation of 'choice' data to the board's workshop meeting on
Oct. 4 was not related to the facilities issue but was part of a
report on Brandywine's record of attracting students to the
district. Board vice president Joseph Brumskill, who presided at
the workship, had ruled out any discussion of facilities issues.
also reported that a preliminary count found 10,736 youngsters
attending Brandywine schools on Sept. 30, up 49 from a year
earlier. The count on the last school day in September, after
adjustment for normal absences, is considered the 'official'
enrollment figure. It is the basis upon which the number of
state-authorized teacher positions, some other personnel, and
several categories of state financing are determined.
year's count, he said, includes 14 autistic children who last
year attended school in the Christina district.
Superintendent Bruce Harter said the relatively slight changes
in enrollment since the 2001-02 academic year "may indicate
we're on another plateau" similar to the somewhat higher one
that pertained in the late 1990s.
reported a decline last academic year in the number of
Brandywine area students attending charter schools, and
apparently equal declines in enrollment of students living in
the Brandywine district but going to nonpublic schools and those
who attend Brandywine schools.
that he did not "have the greatest degree of confidence" in the
accuracy of specific figures in the report on 'choice', Blowman
presented two tables which varied slightly. That, he explained,
was probably because the counts were taken at different times
during the respective academic years and enrollments fluctuate
during the year. But, he said, trends the figures illustrate
apparently are valid.
on a school-by-school basis, the spread between the number of
students transferring into Brandywine schools has declined in
each of the past five years, from 527 in 1999-2000, the second
year 'choice' was in effect, to 102 last year. Those figures
include students who live in the district but were 'choiced'
into a school different from the one which serves the attendance
zone in which they live.
results vis-à-vis the five other districts in New Castle County,
excluding the vocational district, the year-to-year fluctuation
has not been as sharp, going from a net loss of one student in
the first year of 'choice' to net gains of 137, 107, 84, 82 and
88, respectively, in the subsequent five years. Brandywine had a
net loss of students to the Red Clay district in each of the
years, but net gains from the others. Last academic year 299
students came into the district and 211 left.
a variation of 14 between the 2003-04 totals in the two tables.
schools enrolled 447 Brandywine residents in the last academic
year. Edison Charter attracted 159 of those and Charter School
of Wilmington took 113. The total peaked at 489 in 2001-02.
Charter schools are public schools which are run in a mode
similar to that of private schools.
told the board that data he compiled belies "the mythical flight
from the public school system." On the contrary, he said,
"nonpublic schools are feeling the same demographic factors that
we are." Over the past several years, they have lost students at
a somewhat greater rate than Brandywine has, according to his
academic year saw 3,651 Brandywine-area students in nonpublic
schools, down 50 from the year before. Brandywine's enrollment
dropped by 48, from 10,652 in 2002-03 to 10,602.
was, however, a 6.2% decline in the number of students living in
the Brandywine district but going to nonpublic schools between
1999-2000 and 2003-04, he reported. The comparable period saw a
5% enrollment decline in Brandywine schools.
figure indicate that 25.6% of the district's school-age
population attended independent and religion-based private
schools in 2003-04, compared to 25.8% in 1999-2000.