School enrollment drops

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Enrollment in Carson City schools decreased significantly this year, while Lyon County saw a smaller drop and Storey County added students, according to preliminary numbers collected Friday.

Carson City dropped almost

5 percent, or 391 students, from 8,010 in 2008 to 7,659 on Friday.

"We predicted the declining numbers and we budgeted accordingly," said Susan Keema, associate superintendent. "We can still carry on with quality education."

Keema said the district will continue to re-examine the budget to meet projections of declining enrollment.

The year before, enrollment declined by 164 students.

Each year, the state designates one day as count day. On that day, the number of students who actually attend - not those who are enrolled - are counted.

The Legislature then uses that number to determine how much money the school district receives the following year.

Carson City receives $6,228 per pupil in attendance on count day.

A "hold harmless" provision in state law allows for school districts to receive funding using the previous year's numbers following a drop in enrollment.

Lyon County's numbers dipped, but not as bad as last year, said Superintendent Caroline McIntosh. This year's preliminary count showed 8,786 students attended school on Friday.

That's down 151 students from last year. However, it is about half the drop from the year before, which decreased by 338 students.

"We're in a much better condition this year," she said. "Things are actually picking up in some places in the county. This is still a very economical place to live."

The most significant drop, she said, came in Silver Springs with 61 fewer students between the middle and high schools there.

However, schools in Fernley are growing, she reported. And she's optimistic about the trend.

"I think by next year we will have totally stabilized," she said. "We may even start going up again."

Storey County is continuing its upward movement.

"We're up about 3 percent," said Superintendent Rob Slaby.

Last year, 435 students showed up for count day. This year, it was up to 448.

"In our economy, this shows a sign of recovery that more people are moving to the area," he said. "It's good for us because it's always easy to add programs rather than to cut programs and staff."

Across the state, some counties have been hit hard by drops in enrollment. Most notably, Clark County could see a significant decline, its first since 1983.

Although official numbers won't be available until Monday, the Associated Press reported that a preliminary count on Tuesday showed the district was down to 309,144 this year from 311,240. The district had anticipated a growth up to 313,688 students.

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