Park City student enrollment drops
The district announced a decline of 68 students last week
Each year, the Park City School District announces the number of students enrolled in the district. Although the general trend has been growth, this year the figure decreased.
The district has a total enrollment of 4,823 students for the 2017-18 school year, a decrease of 68 students from last year, according to a head count taken Oct. 1. Todd Hauber, the business administrator for the district, said it was a little unexpected, since they predicted last fall that enrollment would grow by 148 students.
“It’s just the dynamics of living in a mountain resort (town),” he said.
The district makes forecasts for each upcoming year using current student populations and past trends, but also housing developments opening. Hauber typically estimates about 0.5 children per new residential unit.
“Sometimes it works well and we get it right,” he said. “This year, it wasn’t exactly right on.”
Enrollment has had a general uptick in the past few years as more people with families have moved into the area.
With the new data, Hauber plans to perform a more thorough study to determine what average class sizes are now and forecast next year’s enrollment. With that information, the district will determine the capacity threshold of students in each school. The schools that reach their thresholds may be closed to open enrollment from students outside of the district. Only one school in the district, Jeremy Ranch Elementary School, is closed this year.
Thresholds are “a moving target,” Hauber said, since it depends on the actual average class sizes and the district’s class size goal. Typically, the district favors low class sizes of about 20 to 23 students. As the average class sizes declines, so do the thresholds.
“There has always been an expectation to have smaller class sizes than the average for the state,” he said. “To this point, Park City does have some of the lowest.”
Final audited numbers are due to the state next week, and information about which schools will be open and closed will be released later in the month.
The arsenic-and-lead-containing soil has been a contentious issue for the district, which piled it onto the junior high campus in actions that were later discovered to be in violation of a covenant with the Environmental Protection Agency.
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