Logos boosts school totals

Medford School District's enrollment has increased for the second consecutive year, with all of the growth coming from Logos Public Charter School, according to school officials.

Enrollment after 10 school days was 12,725 for the district, up from 12,595 at the same time last year.

Nearly 250 new students enrolled with Logos Public Charter School this year. The rest of the district lost some students but didn't face any rapid declines as it has in previous years.

"We do projections every spring, and this is about what we expected," said district Superintendant Phil Long.

Last year's 12,595 students marked the first time in five years that the district didn't lose roughly 100 students in a year.

So, while a decline in the public school enrollment does exist, Long says the numbers aren't nearly as serious as they have been in the past.

"It's not the type of decline we were seeing four or five years ago," he said.

According to Long, increased enrollment was expected at Logos Public Charter School because of a first-year enrollment cap the district imposed on the school last year.

In the 2010-11 year, the school agreed to cap enrollment at 300, but the district eased up on the agreement and allowed the school to grow to more than 350 students by the year's end.

This year, without the enrollment cap, the school is free to grow, and Logos Administrator Joe VonDoloski says it will.

The school has nearly 550 students enrolled so far, and VonDoloski expects the number to increase to about 600 by the end of the school year.

VonDoloski said families are attracted to what Logos has to offer, from previously home-schooled children to those disgruntled with the public school system for various reasons.

"For our home-schoolers, it means help on many different levels and some accountability," said VonDoloski.

Other students come to the school because they don't fit in to the public-school mold, either for disciplinary, health or other personal reasons, he said.

"They can set their own schedule and do their work later in the evening," said VonDoloski.

Long said he was happy with the increased enrollment numbers, even though they came only through Logos.

"That's at least 200 or so families getting reacquainted with public schools," said Long.

After the first day of classes, the district made some staffing adjustments and added the full-time equivalent of five teachers.

On Sept. 9, the majority of elementary classes across the district were at or below set staffing ratios for the year, and the additional teachers were projected to help balance out larger classes by Sept. 19.

Long said the school district typically adds from 15 to 45 students between day 10 and the end of September, when the state compiles enrollment numbers.

Reach reporter Teresa Ristow at 541-776-4459 or by email at tristow@mailtribune.com

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