Enrollment up at Moffat County High School, down district-wide
September 17, 2015
Craig — Although Moffat County School District’s total enrollment is down slightly this year, the high school saw an unforeseen boost in student population.
Moffat County High School's enrollment is up by nearly 70 students according to an unofficial, preliminary count taken at the start of the week.
The high school, and district in general, have seen a downward slide in enrollment numbers in recent years, however this marks the second year that MCHS' numbers have taken an upward slant, from 529 at the time of the official count last year to 596 as of Monday.
"This is a big jump for our high school," said Moffat County School District Superintendent Brent Curtice. "I think the encouraging part of it is our community has been very concerned about our enrollment at the high school and this is a step forward."
The jump was more than expected for MCHS Principal Kelly McCormick, who was scrambling during the first week of school to find enough classes to put kids in. With more than 30 kids in some second period classrooms, he was prompted to add a history elective course to bring class sizes back down the to the 26-student target range.
"It's definitely a lot more kids than what we expected and I think that, for me personally, all has to do with our great staff and the work that they put in," McCormick said.
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The school district had budgeted high school enrollment at 567 students based on a large incoming freshman class from Craig Middle School. This week's count puts the high school at 30 students more than what was budgeted for, which is good for the bottom line of the district.
However, the increase at the high school balances out a more-than-anticipated decrease at the elementary and middle school level, which came in with fewer kids than budgeted for. All told, the district currently has 13 fewer actual students enrolled.
In terms of funding, that number shrinks to only four funded students fewer, with the biggest portion of the decreased enrollment in kindergarteners, who are funded by the state on a halftime basis despite attending full-day kindergarten. This year's budget was already based on a funded count decrease of 50 students.
Nonetheless, the preliminary count excludes preschool and Shared School students, who started later than other students and have yet to be counted towards the final enrollment tally and funded count.
"I think we probably will end up closer to that budget," said MCSD Finance Director Tinneal Gerber. "Until we have that Oct. 1 count, none of this is final."
The Colorado Department of Education bases its per-pupil funding on the official student count taken Oct. 1, which is not released until November and not audited and finalized until January.
But at the high school, McCormick is seeing and feeling the effects of the growing student body.
"I love it, the more the better," McCormick said. "It's not a budget thing, I just think it's a good place for kids and with the way things are going now and the teachers doing work they're doing, I think it's the best place to be."