Enrollment numbers are at an all-time high in the Windsor-Severance Re-4 School District, but the figures aren’t as high as school officials expected this year.
The district saw a 2.18 percent increase in enrollment this year, down from last year’s 4.04 increase and the lowest since a 1.94 percent increase in 2003. According to the Oct. 1 enrollment count for full-time equivalent students, which determines how much funding ($6,311 per student) the district will receive from the state, the FTE enrollment is at 4,548 students, up from the 2012 total of 4,451 students. Kindergarten and preschool students are considered .5 FTE because they go to school part-time. Total enrollment this year, if counting the kindergarten and preschool students as full-time, is at 4,822, or 83 more students than the 2012 total of 4,739 students.
“We operate on that FTE,” Re-4 assistant superintendent Stephanie Watson said.
The five-year district average is an increase of 4.07 percent.
“Obviously, the 2.18 percent is lower than previous years. It is a surprise,” Watson said. “We had anticipated it being higher, but we have had a couple blip years. There have been a lot of building permits within our district as well, which is another reason why we were surprised. We keep an eye and watch the building permits. Our demographer was projecting that we would have a higher percent increase than this.”
In 2008, there was a 2.76 percent growth in enrollment, and in 2003 the 1.94 percent in growth would be considered the blip years. The only decrease in enrollment since Watson has been tracking the data from 1988 was a 0.40 decrease (7 fewer students) in 1992.
“We’ve always had positive growth,” Watson said. “It’s great that we’re still growing. Obviously, our community is growing. Building and development activity is picking back up. We do anticipate that growth will continue in the district, and we’re still planning for those needs.”
As expected, Tozer Primary School (36.3 percent increase), Mountain View (21.3 percent increase) and Skyview (10.9 percent increase) elementary schools experienced significant growth in enrollment because of the boundary changes with Grandview (30.4 percent decrease).
The one school that keeps on growing its enrollment is the high school, which is at a record high of 1,225 students (5.5 percent growth). A new high school will be looked at when the district decides to build another new school in the future. Last year the high school enrollment was at 1,157 students.
“That’s obviously an area that we’re watching,” Watson said. “Our long-range committee when they get started this month, will really be looking at projections in the high school level. That’s obviously an area where we’re growing, and our senior class (254 students) is the smallest class that we have. Next year, by everybody moving through, you’re going to have some growth coming just from our senior class being our smallest class. We anticipate even more students at the high school next year as we have students move through the system.”
WHS principal Michelle Scallon said the freshmen class is at an all-time high of 350 students. Watson said the building capacity is 1,290 students, and that doesn’t include the modular buildings behind the high school.
“We’re getting by just fine. We did get some additional FTE this year,” Scallon said. “It’s going to be a challenge as we grow.”
Scallon said the only time the enrollment increase at the high school is noticeable is during the changing of classes.
“We’re trying to get the kids to use the back exits and the back stairwells,” Scallon said. “Right now, we’re getting along just fine. We’ve always been fortunate to have smaller class sizes, so as we grow those are things we’re going to have to look at in the future. Kids are very adaptable, and it’s fun to have that kind of excitement and electricity in our school. It’s fun to have the big numbers. It’s a good thing. I think it’s exciting to have a community where people want to move in. Windsor has so much to offer. We roll with the times, embrace the change and get ready for the next generation.”