Why it's important for schools to report enrollment numbers on BEDS Day in New York state

Niagara Falls schools to revamp health, sex education programs
Posted at 5:50 AM, Oct 07, 2020

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — We're one month into the school year and while it's been nowhere near normal, things are starting to settle down for schools in the Niagara Falls City School District.

"We're open, we're transparent," said Niagara Falls City Schools superintendent Mark Laurrie. "We think we do a great job for 30 hours a week in terms of teaching, rituals and routines."

Despite having one school closed to in-person learning because of positive COVID-19 cases superintendent Mark Laurrie says hybrid learning is going well and remote learning is picking up speed.

And now the next important day for school districts is BEDS Day.

"BEDS Day is the day when school districts across the state are responsible for getting all the information about the current status of the school," Laurrie said. "Everything from enrollment to the number of library books you have, to the technology you have."

BEDS stands for Basic Educational Data System, essentially a census for school districts in New York state.

Niagara Falls has a team of people who gather this information, and teachers report their own data.

"[It's] where they have to report who they are, how many years they've worked, what grades they're teaching or subjects their teaching, what their salary is," Laurrie said.

Another key stat is enrollment.

New York state uses those numbers to determine state funding.

"Based on enrollment at a particular time, we may or may not lose money based on student enrollment and staff hiring," Laurrie said.

Niagara Falls received nearly $115 million in state funding for 2020.

But this year, Laurrie says COVID-19 concerns are taking a toll on enrollment among the district's youngest students.

"Enrollment is down maybe about 100 students in the pre-K and Kindergarten arena," Laurrie said. "I'm hoping once this is past us and resolved soon, we'll see an uptick in our enrollment."

Laurrie says there's room in all kindergarten classes in the district, and encourages parents to sign their kids up as soon as possible, before the district's reporting deadline of November 20th.

Three school administrators in Buffalo stressed the importance of BEDS Day in the Queen City, saying getting the correct enrollment numbers for the youngest students is vital.

"We know there certainly are little ones out there that we really want to see registered in school," said Tonja Williams, Associate Superintendent for Student Support Services at Buffalo Public Schools.

Parents can register their kids in pre-K or Kindergarten on a rolling basis at 12 Ash Street in Buffalo.