The Education Achievement Authority's enrollment has dropped slightly from last fall but is above the levels the state-run district projected in its budget for 2014-15, interim chancellor Veronica Conforme told board members Thursday.

She said the district's "current estimate" is that it has 6,500 students, compared with its June projection of 6,166.

Last fall, the district had 6,517 students at its 12 direct-run schools, according to state data. The district also has three charter schools.

Conforme attributed the boost from the June projection to efforts by the administration, teachers, parents and students.

"This was a total team effort," she said. "The EAA family came out in full force to recruit and retain students."

The district is continuing outreach efforts to attract more students, including building tours at its schools, Conforme said.

EAA board Chairwoman Joyce Hayes Giles said she was pleased that the district surpassed its enrollment target.

She attributed it to the district's reaching out to the community via radio, print advertising, a door-to-door campaign and various promotions.

"It was a vote of confidence by parents," she said. "It reflected hard work by the staff."

The EAA, conceived by Gov. Rick Snyder to turn around the state's lowest performing schools, has struggled with low test scores, falling enrollment and funding shortfalls since it began operating two years ago. The district's budget is projected to shrink $26.4 million this school year.

The EAA uses a student-based learning model, allowing students to learn at their own pace, that Covington introduced.

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