Enrollment increased by 60 students this year in the Carson City School District, according to the official count taken Friday.
“The last several years has been a little unpredictable,” said Superintendent Richard Stokes. “Mostly the numbers have stayed stagnant with a little variation.”
While this year’s jump was higher than recent gains, he said it’s still too early to determine the significance.
“It’s a little higher than what we’ve seen in the past several years,” he said. “Whether that indicates growth in the area is hard to say. The numbers are still going up and down, so we’re not going to get overly excited because the trend may not continue.”
Schools reported 7,585 students in attendance Friday — the official count day for the state — up from 7,525 last year. It had dropped from 7,635 in 2012. Enrollment has declined since 2007, when the district reported 8,174 students.
Numbers collected on count day are used by the state to determine the amount of money allotted each district. The Carson City School District this year will receive $6,537 per pupil.
However, each kindergarten student is allotted two-thirds of that dollar amount — a practice put into place when kindergartners typically attended half of a school day.
However, Stokes said, each Carson City school now has full-day kindergarten. While there are other sources of funding to offset costs, Stokes said, the district still is paying about $400,000 from the general fund to make up the difference.
“We will continue to provide full-day kindergarten,” he said. “We believe in it. We believe it is good for our community.”
In addition to the cost, the extended hours of kindergarten have also created space issues at the elementary school, as each class now needs its own room, rather than sharing a room between afternoon and morning classes.
“Right now, we are operating at full capacity,” Stokes said. “It has taxed our available resources. We are anxiously waiting to see what happens in the Legislature with possible enhancements to our schools for additional space.”