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CPS STUDENT ENROLLMENT: Figures inflated versus newspaper accounts

Columbia Daily Tribune routinely reports much lower numbers
 
COLUMBIA, 3/27/12  (Beat Byte) --  Columbia Public School (CPS) enrollment figures routinely don't match Columbia Daily Tribune enrollment figures, in some cases inflating them by over 500 students.

Given the frequent communication between the Trib and CPS, the lack of matching statistics is a mystery.  In this photo by Trib photographer August Kryger, for instance, CPS Superintendent Chris Belcher is meeting with Trib reporters to discuss the April bond debt and tax levy increase, all based on what he has characterized as rapidly rising student enrollment.

But both district and Tribune reports don't support Belcher's claim.
 
In January 2008, the Tribune reported CPS enrollment of 16,648.   But CPS reports enrollment that year at 17,186, a difference of 538 students.  
 
In a December 2008 profile of former Columbia school superintendent Jim Ritter, the Tribune reported enrollment for four different years, none of which match CPS figures.  
 
In 1999, the Tribune reported 15,744 students.   But CPS claims 373 more students, reporting 16,117.   In 2003, the Tribune reported 16,076 students; CPS reports 16,447.   In 2004, the Tribune reported 15,982.   CPS reports nearly 600 more students:  16,520.    
 
Figures from Tribune editorials also differ from CPS data.   None of the total enrollment figures cited in this 2009 editorial by Tribune columnist Bob Roper match figures CPS is reporting on its historical enrollment form
 
CPS has also been growing much slower than officials have reported, almost flat in certain grades.   Meanwhile, bond debt has soared over $200 million in the last five years alone, all on the basis of enrollment figures that don't add up. 
 
The debt is subsidizing giant new subdivisions nestled beside new schools, and paying for associated infrastructure. 
 
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