D-16 claims the area’s highest student growth

John GardnerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Colorado Department of Education released its annual student counts for school districts across the state Thursday, showing that Garfield County school districts witnessed growth between 2 and 10 percent over last year.Garfield School District 16 had the largest percentage increase, about 10 percent, with 133 new students in the district this year. Garfield School District Re-2 witnessed a 3 percent increase, with 133 new students as well, while Roaring Fork School District had a 2 percent gain with a gain of 109 students.This year, the state’s student population overall surpassed 800,000 students for the first time in the state’s history.Statewide the pupil count for kindergarten through 12th grade increased 1.08 percent over 2006, an increase of 8,613. That increase brings the total number of students to 802,639.Most of the growth between 2006 and 2007 occurred in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade, where totals surged by 8,039, according to the CDE’s report. Grades seven through 12 grew by just 574 students.Over the past five years, RFSD, Garfield Re-2 and District 16 had percentage increases of 5.47 percent, 15.56 percent and 31.22 percent, respectively.Combined, the three Garfield County school districts saw an increase of 1,171 students over the past five years. Re-2 had the most new students with 593, followed by District 16 with 311. RFSD brought up the rear with 267.RFSD’s 2007 student count was 5,149, Re-2 has 4,403 and District 16 has 1,307. Collectively, the three districts total 10,859 students, and have seen a 12.09 percent increase since 2003. That is about double the state’s average increase of 6.79 percent. The state as a whole has seen an increase of 51,061 students over the last five years as well.Latino students across Garfield County increased by 45.45 percent since 2003. District 16 saw the largest percentage increase at 62.22 percent. Since 2003, its three schools have had a total of 140 additional Latinos enrolled in the schools.By comparison, the Re-2 district had an increase of 608 Latinos, a 52.19 percent jump, over the same time period. The RFSD had the largest number increase of Latino students with 652, but had a percentage increase of only 36.77 percent.The three districts collectively have a Latino population of 4,480 students compared to 6,113 Anglo students.Minority students make up 48.96 percent of the student population in RFSD, 40.31 percent for Re-2 and 34.43 percent in District 16.The free and reduced lunch program students also have seen an increase in numbers over the years. The level of students participating in the program as of this fall for RFSD is 28.89 percent, or 1,451 students.Re-2 has 1,666 students, or 38.96 percent, of its students on the free and reduced lunch program. District 16 has the highest percentage of free and reduced lunch students, at 42.19 percent.

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