Carson school enrollment dips |

Carson school enrollment dips

Teri Vance

The Carson City School District is down 57 students from last year’s enrollment, but that drop is far less than what officials had feared.

On the first day of school, 7,214 students showed up to class, 273 fewer students than last year’s first-day attendance.

However, 7,602 students reported to class Friday, the official count day, which determines how much money the district will receive from the state.

Enrollment was 7,659 in 2009 and 8,010 in 2008.

Only students who actually attend on that day are counted.

Although Superintendent Richard Stokes said he was relieved the drop wasn’t as severe as first indicated, it will still mean less money for an already tight budget.

“Each of these students represent about $6,200,” he explained. “So that’s about $350,000 fewer revenues. Obviously, we’re concerned.”

He said that declining enrollment combined with cutbacks from the state have left the school district with no option but to make cuts.

Still, he said, the district has worked to maintain an average classroom size of 25 students per teacher in the fourth through 12th grades, and a 19-to-1 ratio in kindergarten through third grades.

But that does not mean there won’t be any cutbacks in staff.

“We know if we lose students, we won’t need as many staff,” he said. “We can’t keep more teachers than what the staffing ratios indicate.”

Ideally, he said, cuts would remain outside of the classroom.

“We’re going to look at every other aspect of our operations to be frugal and live within our means,” he said.

For now, he said, no decisions have been made.

“We’re going to be in a wait-and-see mode until we know just what is coming our way,” he said.

Steve Knight, principal of Silver State Charter School, said the school still is making final calculations. However, he anticipates enrollment will be right around last year’s 492 students.

“It looks like our enrollment is going to be pretty much the same,” he said.

However, he said, it does mark the end of consistent growth of nearly 30 percent annually in past years.

Carson Montessori School, also a public charter school, continues to grow.

Principal Jessica Daniels said the school raised its enrollment cap this year and has 190 students this year compared to last year’s enrollment of 168.

“We were very excited,” she said. “But we’re maxed out. We’re so full.”

The school is looking to expand to a new site to accommodate more students, she said.

Lyon County School District’s count day will be Friday.