Jefferson County Public Schools officials are optimistic about the future of career and technical education programs in the district despite a drop in enrollment last year.
A higher than projected enrollment in JCPS CTE programs this year has led to an increase in state funding of nearly $200,000. The JCPS board approved the increase in funding at Monday night’s meeting.
The state projects enrollment numbers for local districts at the beginning of the year and changes the allocation to reflect an increase or decrese in enrollment, said Ken Talley, director of CTE programming.
“Based upon enrollment it may come up or go down. There’s been some years when enrollment has been lower than projected,” he said.
CTE has been expanding in the state under the new Unbridled Learning accountability system that emphasizes career readiness. and Kentucky Department of Education officials say they expect this year’s enrollment numbers to reflect that.
In the 2011-2012 school year there were 137,617 students enrolled in CTE programs, according to KDE, but numbers this year haven’t yet been released.
In Kentucky there are three types of CTE programs. There are 53 state area technology centers (state operated); 17 career and technical centers (local districts operate); and approximately 181 high schools that offer career and technical programs, like in Jefferson County, said KDE officials.
Last year enrollment numbers in JCPS dipped from 28,113 to 20,970, which was the first decrease since 2008 when there were 17,387 students enrolled. Talley said he hasn’t researched reasons for the decrease but he suspects it’s due to changes in school operations during the state’s first year of the new standards.
Preliminary numbers entered by several districts indicate an increase in statewide enrollment over last year, according to Dale Winker, the associate commissioner with KDE’s Office of Career and Technical Education.
CTE programs receive money from federal, state and local sources, much of which is based on projected enrollment. In JCPS, the CTE program receives around $1.2 million in federal funds, $5 million through local funding and now $2.7 in state funds.
Last year lawmakers passed a bill to improve CTE, except the state doesn’t yet have the funding to fully support the provisions of the law.