Douglas school enrollment posts 93-student decrease

Douglas County schools lost 93 students compared to last year, according to enrollment numbers released by the school district this week.

However, school business director Holly Luna said the numbers are above what the district projected.

"We projected 6,656 students for the 2007-08 year," said Luna. "We are up 99 students (from the projection)."

Luna said that in 2005-06 Douglas County had 7,035 students. That number decreased by 2.7 percent to 6,848 students in 2006-07. The decline continued for 2007-08, but only by 1.4 percent, equaling a total of 6,755 students.

"It's less of a hit, which is the good news," said Luna. "The more students we have, the more money we get."

Total enrollment for elementary schools in the Valley remained the same. Last year, the Valley's six elementary schools enrolled 3,191 students. This year, the schools enrolled exactly the same number, 3,191 students. Gardnerville Elementary lost two students, but Meneley gained two students. Jacks Valley Elementary lost 10 students, but PiƱon Hills Elementary gained 10 students.

The biggest drop in enrollment was in the Valley's middle schools. Carson Valley Middle School lost only six students from its previous 824. But Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School lost 91 students from its previous 676.

"They lost a large ninth grade," said Luna. "The class sizes coming in are smaller."

Douglas High School compensated for some of the loss, gaining 42 students, making a total student population of 1,564. The school is the county's largest.

"We're pretty much at capacity for all schools, except Pau-Wa-Lu," Luna said.

Luna said she expects general enrollment to decline over the next several years.

"Fewer families with school-age children are moving in here," she said.

Luna said a precarious real estate market and other factors are affecting enrollment numbers and consequently school funding.

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