By Selwyn Harris
According to census figures released by the Nye County School District NCSD , enrollment at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year is down 118 students compared to last year.
The drop means the district could lose more than $1.2 million from the state’s Distributive School Account DSA allocation, which generally is more than $6,500 per student.
NCSD Superintendent Dale Norton said the district will see the impact of the loss next year.
“We are funded the same as we were last year, however, rolling into next year’s budget, that’s when we are going to feel that $1.2 million. We are okay this year, but we are going to budget based on that less 118 for next year.”
In 2010, the district had to cut more than 70 positions to help balance the budget.
Last summer the district was forced to lay off an additional 57 staff members.
Earlier this year, all three school district unions agreed to concessions, which included a longevity STEP freeze in an effort to avoid additional layoffs.
STEP pay are regular increases in salary based on longevity.
Norton said at present, it is unclear if the district will have to lay off more district employees and faculty members to maintain a balanced budget. He said there is a ray of hope on the horizon.
“It depends on how the dollars come in. Under DSA, we have to consider that amount of money, but then we have to look at what the state tax revenue that is coming in and what are all the other revenues that are coming in. That has actually been on the increase a little bit. My hope is that we do not have to make any more cuts, but we will look at that as time rolls on,” he noted.
As the school year advances, there have been changes each month in the number of students attending classes.
From the beginning of the 2012 fall semester in late August, district officials noted that the district population fell by 118 students during the first month of school but a secondary count from Sept. to Oct. showed that enrollment dropped by 105 students compared to last year.
Norton said it appears that schools in southern Nye County are experiencing more classroom declines than schools in northern Nye County.
“Where we are losing students is in the Pahrump attendance area, and it is mostly at the middle school level. Rosemary Clarke is one of the biggest ones and I am not exactly sure what to attribute that to. We are stable or have had actual increases in some of our schools to the north, particularly Tonopah Elementary, where they gained 20 kids,” he said.
Rosemary Clarke saw a decrease of 57 students compared to last year’s count.
The percentage of attendance remained the same at 95 percent.
Pahrump Valley High School welcomed 41 new students this year.
Combined, both Hafen and Floyd Elementary schools lost 21 students.
Amargosa Valley School lost 10 students, while other schools in Nye County bounced back and forth in enrollment.
Beatty Elementary School had a decline of four students, but the high school gained two students.
Duckwater School has two less students while Gabbs is operating with nine fewer students this year.
At Round Mountain Jr. and Sr. High School, a total of seven students are off the attendance sheet, but the elementary school gained nine students.
Norton did note that some schools in the Pahrump Valley also showed some modest gains in student enrollment, while others didn’t fare so well.
“J.G. Johnson Elementary had a gain of 37 students, and Manse lost 30, but it may be due to students moving from one school to another,” he said.
Currently, 5,389 students are enrolled throughout the district.