Enrollment drops on first day | NevadaAppeal.com

Enrollment drops on first day

Teri Vance
Appeal Features Editor

School officials had predicted a drop in enrollment this year, but were still surprised when 331 fewer students showed Thursday than on last year’s first day of school.

“All the trending analysis we’ve been doing led us to believe we’d be down again,” said Bob Anderson, director of fiscal services for the Carson City School District. “I was just hoping it wouldn’t be this many.”

However, Anderson said, he remains optimistic that number will increase by the state’s official count day, Sept. 15.

“There’s still a lot of days before then,” he said. “I won’t start reallocating the budget before that.”

In Nevada, the amount of funding schools receive from the state is based on the number of students who show up to school on count day.

Officials predicted enrollment this year would be around 8,348 students, but only 8,061 attended the first day.

“On the first day, the numbers are rather unreliable,” Anderson said. “There’s some things about the first week of school that are unpredictable. There’s some families who are still on vacation probably.”

Other than a drop in numbers, the first day of school Thursday went well, according to Richard Stokes, associate superintendent of human resources.

“As I was out and about today, I saw lots of students with lots of smiles,” he said. “They were brushed and polished with new clothes and school materials – ready to go to work.”

The district’s alternative school, Pioneer High School, reported the only increase in students, with 10 more attending than last year.

Mark Twain Elementary School, which has a new principal, Laura Austin, had neither an increase nor decrease.

Eagle Valley Middle School also started the year with a new principal, Chad Lindeen.

Stokes said neither reported any problems.

Student enrollment in the Carson City School District peaked in 2003 with 8,551. It dropped by 32 students the following year, prompting officials to cut 21 positions.

Anderson said they want to avoid a repeat of those layoffs. Instead, he said, they are hesitating to fill vacant positions, rather than eliminate ones that are already filled.

“There’s no name and no face on a vacancy,” he explained. “But when you fill a vacancy then have to turn around and lay that person off, that’s bad.

“When you hire somebody, you want to let them know they have a career with the school district.”

Based on preliminary figures, the school district will receive about $5,446 for each student in attendance on count day.

Although enrollment is likely to go down this year, it will not have an immediate effect on the district. Through a “hold harmless” clause in the state’s policy, school districts can use the highest enrollment numbers from the previous three years.

The district will use the 2005 figure of 8,461 students.

Stokes reminded drivers to slow down in school zones, particularly in front of Carson High School where a new school zone light was installed.

“We’re looking forward to a good year,” he said.

• Teri Vance it the Nevada Appeal features editor. Reach her at tvance@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1272.

Student enrollment

Total number of students counted on the first day for Carson City Schools:

School 2006 2005 change

Preschool program 59 44 +15

Bordewich-Bray Elementary 552 597 -45

Empire Elementary 533 555 -22

Fremont Elementary 533 608 -75

Fritsch Elementary 579 605 -26

Mark Twain Elementary 616 616 0

Seeliger Elementary 651 677 -26

Carson Middle 1,060 1,129 -69

Eagle Valley Middle 850 914 -64

Carson High 2,537 2,566 -29

Pioneer High 92 82 +10

Total 8,062 8,393 -331