Enrollments mostly steady in rural schools

But Dayton at least is in nail-biting mode as enrollment is below the number the budget is based on.


Most schools in the area's rural regions are holding steady on enrollment, compared to beginning enrollment in 2010.

But at least one district is in the nail-biting stage, or, as Dayton Superintendent Doug Johnson put it: "Prayer."

This is the second year Dayton started with fewer students than the number on which the district's budget is based, even though the projected enrollment number for this year was cut by eight.

This year's count is about 438 full-time equivalent students, compared to 453 FTE in the first count last year. The 2011-2012 budget is based on 452 FTE. Average attendance last year was 455 students.

Johnson said it is hard to pinpoint any one reason for the decline. "We didn't have a lot of new kids register this year," he said.

We've had kids move away for mostly parent jobs. We lost some seniors and juniors who saw the writing on the wall credit-wise," Johnson said.

Online study through other school districts, students opting to attend school in neighboring districts, and a general trend in student population are all contributors, Johnson said.

The size of individual classes range from 25 in fourth grade to 46 in seventh grade. Thirty-six children enrolled in kindergarten while there are 30 seniors enrolled.

Further down the Touchet River, Prescott School Superintendent Bill Jordan was feeling a little more comfortable, with enrollment surpassing the budget forecast by 14 FTE students.

"I think we are pleased that we came in over budget, and that we have a good, healthy group at our secondary level. Our elementary is down a bit," Jordan said. Families moving to the Tri Cities and the Yakima Valley for jobs are the main reason for an enrollment drop, Jordan said.

Like Johnson, Waitsburg Superintendent Carol Clarke is turning to "hope and prayer" that the district doesn't get more budget cuts. With an actual FTE enrollment of 305.67, school officials couldn't have come much closer than the 305.5 FTE the budget is based on.

Carrie Chicken can be reached at cec@innw.net or 522-5289.

September Enrollment by District

Note: If enrollments don't add up to the FTE, the given count is based on actual students.

Dayton 2011 2010

FTE 438 452

Budget driver 452 460

Elementary 135 164

Middle school 79 133

High school 154 156

Dixie 2011 2010

FTE (grades k-5) 24.5 27

Pomeroy 2011 2010

FTE 304 306

Budget driver 290 295

Elementary 142 146

Jr.-Sr. high 165 170

Prescott 2011 2010

FTE 205 218

Budget driver 195 211

Elementary 90 101

Jr.-Sr. High 115 117

Starbuck 2011 2010

FTE 24 22

Touchet 2011 2010

FTE 247 266

Budget driver 260 269

Elementary (K-5) 111 98

Secondary (6-12) 165 168

Waitsburg 2011 2010

FTE 306 312

Budget driver 305.5 310

Elementary 121 108

Preston Hall 82 92

High School 118 128


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