For the first time in nearly a decade, the Carson City School District has increased enrollment after steadily dropping since 2003.
The district reported 7,635 students showed up for school Friday - the official count day for the state of Nevada - up 41 from last year's count.
"It is always better news than going the other direction," said Superintendent
Richard Stokes. "It's a good sign."
In Nevada, schools receive funding, known as the per pupil allotment, based on the number of students involved. The district will receive $6,109 per student enrolled in first through 12th grades, while district funding for each kindergarten student is two-thirds of that.
The growth is good news for the school district, which used much of its reserves to fund this year's budget. The board approved a $59.5 million budget in May, which drew about $5.2 million from its reserves. The school district will move into the next fiscal year with nearly $6 million in its reserve fund, according to Tony Turley, fiscal services director
for the Carson City School District.
"This year, we'll spend our budget reserves down to where we have to take a look at our operations and see what modifications we need to make to get our spending
down," Stokes said. "This won't be enough to cover the shortfall that we currently have, but it does represent some new revenue for the school district. Every little bit helps."
He said officials are unsure of the source of the growth.
"It's a little uncertain where these kids came from," Stokes said. "They could have moved to town or from a charter school, or a combination of both."
While the increase was not dramatic, he said, it may affect staffing depending where the students are concentrated.
Until 2003, the school district had been seeing about a 30 percent gain in students annually. Since then, it continued to drop.
Enrollment was 7,594 last year, down slightly from 7,601 in 2010. Overall, enrollment has dropped 539 students from the 8,174 enrolled in 2007.
"I am happy to see these numbers," Stokes said. "I'm happy to see it on the positive side."