Enrollment dips at high schools within D51

School District 51 administrators still are predicting flat enrollment for 2011–12 despite counting 39 fewer students Tuesday than they did the day after Labor Day 2010.

On Aug. 30, the district counted 21,123 students, a 38-person increase year-over-year in enrollment.

By Tuesday, enrollment had reached 21,813 students, in part due to the addition of preschool students to the roster.

Middle school and elementary school enrollments as of Tuesday were up year-over-year by 34 and 51 students, respectively. District 51 middle schools had 4,858 students Tuesday, and elementary schools had 10,607 students that day.

Enrollment overall was lower because of a dip in the high school count. The district counted 6,348 high school students Tuesday. That’s 124 high school students below the Sept. 7, 2010, count.

Melissa Callahan DeVita, District 51’s executive director of student services, said she isn’t sure why fewer students were enrolled in high school in this year’s count, but she said that may change. Enrollment usually changes throughout September as students settle into school, and an official count for budget purposes won’t be taken until Sept. 30.

The district receives funding based in part on enrollment and will collect $6,100 in state and local funding for every student this year.

The district had projected a 165-student drop in enrollment year-over-year when school board members adopted a 2011–12 budget in June. Board members carved $1 million out of the budget to make up for that expected drop and may have to readopt the budget if more students enroll.

Alternative programming helped fill the anticipated gap. The district gained 166 new students this fall through alternative programs Mesa Valley Vision Home and Community Program, Grande River Virtual Academy, Valley School and R-5 High School, according to Superintendent Steve Schultz.

Schultz said 24 students in those programs were dropouts who decided to return to school.


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