District to adjust to declining enrollment

Carson City's student enrollment was about 40 students fewer than what school officials predicted, according to Superintendent Richard Stokes.

"It's not an exact science," he said. "You never can get an exact snapshot into the future, especially with certain economic conditions."

Stokes presented the numbers from the state's official count day to members of the school board Tuesday.

Enrollment in the Carson City School District continued to drop this year, down 351 students to 7,659 from 8,010 the year before. In 2007, 8,174 students were enrolled.

Enrollment in Nevada is used to determine how much funding a school district receives. Officials also use the numbers to decide staffing levels and programs in the district.

Stokes said the district had anticipated some loss, but hoped it wouldn't be as substantial as it turned out to be.

"We're stinging a little bit," he said in an interview before the meeting. "It's tough to deal with the loss of that many students. It's going to be pretty significant for us."

He said he does not anticipate any more layoffs, but officials may leave positions vacant as employees leave.

"We'll look again at a multitude of ways to save costs," he said. "We're going to continue to live conservatively in regard to programs and staff."

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.

For the short-term, the district can rely on the state's hold-harmless provision. School districts can receive funding based on the previous year's numbers after a decline in enrollment.

Surrounding districts also saw some decline, except Storey County, which increased from 435 to 448. Lyon County dropped 151 students to 8,786. Douglas County enrollment also dipped from 6,550 students in 2008 to 6,459 this year.

Also at the school board meeting:

• Bonnie Preston, health teacher at Eagle Valley Middle School, was appointed to the Family Life Committee. She replaces former health teacher Mike Hellman. Also reappointed to the committee were Sheila Story, medical representative, and parent representatives Gregg Berggren and Rebecca Lynn Palmer.

By state law, the committee, which oversees sex education in the schools, must be made up of five parents, one medical representative, one counselor, one religious representative and one teacher. Terms last three years.

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