KIPP’s New Orleans enrollment has dropped by 70 students, with an estimated half of those moving out of the area and others moving to other local schools.

That’s according Feb. 1 figures KIPP CEO Rhonda Aluise shared with board members on Thursday.

The state counts students on Oct. 1 and Feb. 1 to determine how much money to reimburse the school for student expenses.

Though the lower number will mean fewer per-pupil dollars for KIPP schools, the overall increase in special needs students will provide additional income for the organization, she said.

Currently, about 11 percent of KIPP’s student body receive special needs services which qualify the school for additional state funding. KIPP’s final enrollment count stands at 3,141 students.

Aluise said that this year’s new OneApp process made it easier for students to change schools throughout the year because all open-enrollment schools were required to continue accepting students until they reached capacity, a policy previously left to individual schools.

Last month, KIPP leaders said the organization’s budget expects to break even by a margin of about one percent this year. Finance committee members said then that it is importance to build a surplus to protect the school from unexpected issues or future mid-year enrollment drops. The committee also noted that this year they received a clean audit report.

Looking forward, KIPP expects to grow by 18 percent next year, with a new senior class at KIPP Renaissance, an additional eighth grade at KIPP NOLA, and two new second grade classes at KIPP Believe College Prep and KIPP Leadership Primary. During 2013-14, all of KIPP’s middle schools will serve every grade originally sought in their charter. Also, seven of its nine schools are expected to be fully enrolled, said director of advocacy Jonathan Bertsch.

Aluise said the organization plans to present a long-term growth plan in mid-March or April.

KIPP leaders will continue to meet with representatives of charter school funders like New Schools for New Orleans and the Charter School Growth Fund to find ways to build their surplus and fund future schools, Aluise said.

Board members Ben Allen, Jodi Aamodt, Therese Badon, Sheila Dickerson, Joseph Giarrusso, Jeffrey Goldring, Clifford Favrot, John Landrum, Courtney Murphy, Alan Philipson, Florencia Polite, Stephen Rosenthal, and newly elected board members Askala Harris, Gwathmey Gomila were in attendance.