Student count drops by 108 in East Grand | SkyHiNews.com

Student count drops by 108 in East Grand

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi News
Grand County, CO Colorado

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News

East Grand School District is seeing the sharpest decline in enrollment in administrators’ memories, with 108 students not having returned to East Grand schools this year.

The shortage in enrollment is reflected in grades kindergarten through 12th grade district-wide, and includes the Indian Peaks Charter School.

Official student counts are conducted on Oct. 1. Last year, the official count in East Grand was 1,273 students. This year, it is 1,163. Some students do not count as a full-time attendee.

The assumption, said East Grand Superintendent Nancy Karas, is families have moved out of the county to find work.

The greatest percentage of students who did not return would have attended the high school and the middle school, she said.

On a positive note, even though student numbers are down, East Grand’s budget may survive the decline.

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The reason is due to the state’s averaging formula used to calculate how much money the state will provide schools for each student in a district.

Enrollment totals are averaged over a four-year period, and since East Grand saw a peak in enrollment four years ago, the state is providing $7.38 more per student than if it would have relied on 2010-11 enrollment alone.

Another reason for the state’s increased funding per East Grand student is the state’s aid to schools that experience shrinking student bodies.

“As a district goes down in size, there are gradual increases in the amount they fund you,” Karas said.

East Grand District’s adopted budget reflects state funding at $6,805 per student. Instead, the state is likely to provide $6,812.50 per student.

In spite of this year’s enrollment decline, the district may be within $3,000 of its budget, Karas said, which is a far cry from what administrators were predicting just a month ago.

“It’s good news compared to what was projected,” Karas said.

Another saving grace, viewed by the administration, is the fact that all of the district’s preschool slots have been filled.

“It’s a much better picture than what we were anticipating,” she said.

For Karas, the enrollment picture this year is “one piece of the puzzle that came together,” she said.

The two main hurdles remaining in front of the district are the possible passage of the tax-slashing measures on the ballot, the superintendent said, and a possible 2 percent rescission targeted at K-12 to help with the state’s $250 million or so budget shortfall.

The latter may not affect the district severely, since the district had acquired $268,564 in federal Education Jobs funds that could come in handy if there is a possible rescission.

“We’ve been encouraged to leave that money alone,” Karas said.

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