Lyon County schools grow, but not by much | NevadaAppeal.com

Lyon County schools grow, but not by much

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

Lyon County schools saw some growth in student population, but not nearly at the pace of the past few years.

The school district total is 9,284 students, up from 9,175 for the 2006-07 school year.

Wade Johnson, school district comptroller, estimated the increase to be just over 1 percent, and pointed to high home prices in the area combined with an economic downturn as reasons for slower growth.

“It used to be that homes here were a lot more affordable,” he said. “Now, with high gas prices, the difference in price from Reno or Carson City may not justify the cost of commuting. There doesn’t seem to be the mass influx of people moving into the area that we’ve seen in the past.”

Friday was the day the state Department of Education counted students in each school district, which will impact the amount of state funding the district receives.

Dayton and Fernley, Lyon County’s two fastest-growing areas, have seen overall increases, while some of the other communities have seen drops in students.

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Dayton High School has 778, up from 760 last year, while Fernley High School saw the student body jump from 906 in 2006-07 to 979 this year.

The number of students in Dayton Elementary School and Sutro Elementary School have decreased, but only because the district added Riverview Elementary School and pulled some students from the other two schools.

Johnson said slower growth will impact the district’s budget, because projections estimated faster growth.

“It’s not what we had projected budget-wise. We’re below budget,” he said. “Fortunately the state Legislature provided some additional funding. We never like to see us not make projection, but at least we’re not shrinking.”

Shrinking is what’s happening in the Storey County School District.

The district has 428 students this year, down from 454 for the 2006-07 school year.

Virginia City High School was down three students, Virginia City Middle School was down 13 and Hillside Elementary School in Lockwood was down 14 students. Only Hugh Gallagher Elementary School in Virginia City grew, with 128 students this year, up five from 2006-07.

Superintendent Rob Slaby also blamed the high cost of housing for the drop.

“It is too expensive to live up here on the hill for young families,” he said, adding that housing prices are also high in other areas of the county.

Slaby said the district loses about $6,800 per student, and would use staff attrition as one way to make up the difference in the budget.

“As people resign, we will look very hard at not replacing people that leave,” he said. “The district does not like to lay people off.”

The Storey County School Board on Thursday approved early retirements for two teachers, and Slaby said the district may not be filling those positions right away.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@ nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.

By the Numbers

Lyon County School District 2007-2008 2006-2007

Cottonwood Elementary School 752 697

Dayton Elementary School 441 584

Dayton High School 778 760

Dayton Intermediate School 661 657

East Valley Elementary School 603 541

Fernley Elementary School 568 583

Fernley High School 973 906

Fernley Intermediate School 878 859

Riverview Elementary School 358 N/A

Sutro Elementary School 430 604

Silver Springs Elementary School 419 434

Silver Springs High School 589 419

Silver Springs Middle School 423 412

Smith Valley Schools 225 241

Yerington Elementary School 516 528

Yerington High School 467 479

Yerington Intermediate School 453 418

Storey County School District 2007-08 2006-07

Virginia City High School 152 155

Virginia City Middle School 104 117

Hugh Gallagher Elementary School 128 123

Hillside Elementary School 44 59

Total 428 454