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