District 51 gains 53 students

School District 51 leaders may have less to worry about than they originally thought when it comes to fears of declining enrollment and the funding that comes with each student.

A count of every student attending classes in the district the last week of September found enrollment is up by 53 students compared to the same time last year, District Executive Director of Support Services Melissa Callahan DeVita told the school board at a meeting Tuesday evening.

“We’re holding our own,” DeVita said.

With Mesa Valley Vision Home and Community Program and Independence Academy charter students factored out, enrollment is still down by only 13 students, a much smaller group than the 200 students the district expected to lose this fall compared to last fall.

The district gets to keep $6,471 for each student enrolled this year in the district that does not attend the Vision Program or Independence Academy. The district gives most of the money allocated for each student at those two schools directly to those schools so they can use it as they see fit.

The district keeps a small portion of per student funding from Independence Academy and the Vision Program and uses the money to provide services for those programs, District 51 spokesman Jeff Kirtland said.

Student counts taken around Oct. 1 are commonly the closest to the official district counts available to the public later in the year. But the recent count isn’t yet official because the district will keep counting fluctuating numbers of special needs students through December and take extra time to verify the count, according to Kirtland.

The district counted 22,105 students in last year’s fall count.


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