Garfield County school enrollment up slightly |

Garfield County school enrollment up slightly

Kelley Cox Post Independent

Enrollment in Garfield County’s three public school districts is holding steady or slightly ahead of last year, as of the state’s official Oct. 1 count.

The October deadline is when school districts must submit their enrollment numbers for the new school year to the Colorado Department of Education for purposes of determining state funding.

Those numbers will continue to be monitored over the next month, however, before that funding is set.

“It looks like we are up about 60 kids total,” Roaring Fork Re-1 District Superintendent Judy Haptonstall said.

The district, which includes schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt, has seen an overall increase in students from 4,871 for the 2010-11 school year to 4,931 as of the Oct. 1 count for the current school year.

Glenwood Springs schools have seen an increase of almost 100 students, from 2,267 last school year to 2,360 as of the most recent count, the district indicated in its preliminary enrollment report made public last week.

Sopris Elementary and Glenwood Springs High schools saw the biggest increases, at approximately 48 students each, while Glenwood Springs Elementary School enrollment dropped by 31 students. Glenwood Springs Middle School increased by 29 students.

Carbondale school enrollment, including Crystal River Elementary School, Carbondale Middle School and Roaring Fork High School, appears to be holding steady at about 1,000 students overall.

That number does not include enrollment in two District Re-1 schools that are located in Carbondale, the alternative Bridges High School and the charter Carbondale Community School. Student enrollment at CCS is capped at 128, and admission to Bridges is also controlled.

Basalt schools saw a slight decline in enrollment, from 1,396 last school year to 1,364 as of the Oct. 1 count this year.

“In looking at record requests, which is how we track where kids go, it looks like some of the loss is from kids either moving to a different community … or choosing to attend school in the community where they have lived all along,” Haptonstall said. “We have seen some families moving out of the area.”

Garfield District Re-2 in Rifle, Silt and New Castle, and District 16 in Parachute and Battlement Mesa appear to be back on the enrollment upswing as of the Oct. 1 count as well.

Both districts had seen a loss of students with the downturn in the natural gas industry and the impacts of the recession in recent years.

As of the Oct. 1 count, Re-2 appears to be up by about 47 students to a total of 4,720, or about a 1 percent increase, Re-2 spokeswoman Theresa Hamilton said.

The district did not have a breakout of its enrollment numbers by attendance area. But Hamilton noted that Rifle High School is up in enrollment by about 34 students, while Graham Mesa Elementary in Rifle is up about 14.

Both of the district’s middle schools are holding steady with large enrollment numbers. Riverside Middle School in New Castle had 734 students as of the Oct. 1 count, while Rifle Middle School had 757 students.

“Those schools are our pressure points,” Hamilton said.

District 16 schools, which had been the hardest hit of the area school districts by the economic downturn, recorded a slight increase in enrollment as of the Oct. 1 preliminary count.

The district counted 1,066 students this year, compared to the official count of 1,028 last school year, according to district administrative assistant Kim Bowen.

All but one school in the district have seen small increases in enrollment to date compared to last year. The only exception is Grand Valley High School, which saw a slight decrease of about 10 students.

The enrollment numbers for all the district are preliminary, and will not be finalized for state funding purposes until Nov. 10.

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