Garfield County Re-2 enrollment not down as much as officials feared |

Garfield County Re-2 enrollment not down as much as officials feared

RIFLE, Colorado – Schools in New Castle, Silt and Rifle are down about 48 students overall so far this fall compared to last school year.

If that number holds steady over the next couple of weeks it can be considered good news for the Garfield School District Re-2 given the prospect that numbers could have been down even more due to the economy.

“We’re looking to be relatively stable in terms of student enrollment,” said Theresa Hamilton, Re-2’s director of districtwide services. “Based on the economic changes we have seen nationally and locally, we’re OK with that.”

The official enrollment count used to determine state per-pupil funding is not set until Oct. 1. But as of this week Re-2 school buildings are looking at about 4,630 students, Hamilton said.

“We are definitely seeing some pressures at the two middle schools [Riverside and Rifle],” she said. “Both are full and up in enrollment.”

But it’s not enough to make any staffing adjustments at either school, she said.

The new school year brought a new elementary school into the Re-2 fold, with the opening of Graham Mesa Elementary in Rifle. The new school was built to ease overcrowding at the town’s two other elementary schools, Wamsley and Highland, where enrollment had grown to more than 500 students each last school year.

The new school, already with more than 300 students, resulted in approximately 20 new staff members being added to the district payroll. As a result, Re-2 anticipates an operating deficit of about $1.3 million this year. It hopes to make up that deficit over the next few years.

The district based its 2009-10 budget on no increase in student enrollment this school year.

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