News

An enrollment roller coaster predicted for district

by MICHAEL DASHIELL
Sequim Gazette

Each year, school administrators across the state do a bit of forecasting about how many students will show up the first day of class. Using census figures, birth rates and other data, estimating enrollment becomes more of a science than a guessing game.

 

Sequim’s teachers and staff have seen about 2,700 students roaming the Sequim school hallways this fall, about 50 more than district officials projected.

 

That number is down from last year, however, a trend Sequim schools superintendent Bill Bentley said was expected.

 

What wasn’t expected was how student enrollment grew by about 40 students in the elementary classes while dropping by about 60 in the middle school and high school grades.

 

That moved district officials to add a half section of kindergarten classes at Helen Haller and Greywolf Elementary schools.

 

Even before Gov. Christine Gregoire’s most recent budget proposal, which will come before state legislators later this month, Bentley said Sequim students, parents and staff may expect bigger class sizes following cuts to various state funding sources.

 

Lower grade-level classes that are normally 25 students strong will jump to 30 while high school classes may see as many as 35 students or more, he said.

 

“That’s not desirable. Sadly, that’s the new reality, not just for the Sequim School District but every district in the state,” Bentley said. “There are no simple fixes to that issue.”

 

Officials project an average of 2,677 students for the 2011-2012 school year.

 

School districts in Washington state receive a dollar figure per student FTE, or full-time equivalent.

Sequim school student enrollment
Schools     Oct. 2010  Sept. 2011  Oct. 2011
Greywolf       508           514              513
Helen Haller  510          544              543
Middle school    703      652               65
High school    893         876              880
O.P.A.                83         82               86
Alt. high schl.      29        28               30
Totals            2,726      2,696           2,711


Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@sequimgazette.com.
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