School enrollment up in Steamboat, Hayden, down in Soroco | CraigDailyPress.com

School enrollment up in Steamboat, Hayden, down in Soroco

Enrollment for K-12 schools is up this year in Steamboat Springs and Hayden, while numbers fell slightly in the South Routt School District, according to an official enrollment count that took place Wednesday.

Schools across the state tallied enrollment Oct. 1, the official date for districts to establish eligibility for state per-pupil funding.

In South Routt, enrollment was down from 408 last year to 391 this year. New Superintendent Darci Mohr said she was pleased with enrollment, as projected estimates she was given when she took the job suggested only about 383 students would enroll this year.

"We expected it to be about 383, which is down 25 from last year, so 391 was a pleasant surprise," said Mohr, who took her position in July.

Soroco has been on a downward enrollment trend throughout the past few years, Mohr said, in part because the economy has forced families to seek employment outside of the rural area and also likely because some parents choose to take their kids to school in Steamboat for a variety of reasons.

"I think it’s a combinations of things," Mohr said. "There aren’t a lot of jobs to find around here."

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Enrollment is slightly up for K-12 in Hayden, with 383 students this year, up from 379 last year. The district usually measures their enrollment including preschoolers, and numbers are slightly down when those kids are added to the mix.

For preschool through 12th grade, Hayden enrolled 413 students this year, down from 415 last year.

Since 2010, enrollment in Hayden has gone down and then slowly come up, Superintendent Trudy Vader said.

In 2010, the district enrolled 420 students including preschoolers, followed by 389 in 2011, 406 in 2012 and 415 in 2013.

"So it’s pretty stable, considering enrollment is down in lots of districts in Colorado," Vader said.

She added that the economy likely has pushed students out of rural communities and into larger towns and cities.

She said the district is working on improving communication with the community to better market Hayden to families, including those who choose to take their students to Steamboat Springs.

"I respect parent decisions, but what we can do better is send a message about what we can do and what we can offer to students," Vader said. "I’d like to see those enrollment numbers up."

As school began this year, 48 students who live within Hayden district boundaries were attending school in Steamboat Springs instead. Another 63 from South Routt were in the Steamboat district.

It’s no secret that enrollment is up in Steamboat Springs, where district officials have begun discussions for the need to build a third elementary school.

Summer enrollment estimates have held true in the district, which counted 2,467 students this week. This number has grown steadily since fall 2011, when 2,282 students enrolled. Last fall, the district welcomed 2,401 students.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow