Two Roaring Fork School District schools ‘freeze’ outside enrollment |

Two Roaring Fork School District schools ‘freeze’ outside enrollment

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Enrollment at two Roaring Fork School District elementary schools by both out-of-district students and those living outside the schools’ designated attendance area is being “frozen” due to overcrowding.

The decision, by the RFSD Board of Education at its regular meeting Wednesday, continues what has basically been an unwritten policy at Sopris Elementary School in Glenwood Springs.

SES currently has an enrollment of 625 students, five more than the optimum capacity of the main building combined with the two modular classroom units already on the campus.

The school now has 32 students attending from outside the south Glenwood attendance area, and seven from outside the school district altogether.

Parents whose out-of-area students already attend SES would not be asked to leave, under the policy, but new requests for outside enrollment would not be accepted.

“We were welcoming (new) registrations for this year, but had to tell people we wouldn’t know until after the school year started if there would be room,” SES Principal Howard Jay said.

The school is so full now, however, that it may not even take a wait list for the 2009-10 school year unless there is a marked decline in enrollment for some unforeseen reason, he said.

A similar situation is brewing at Basalt Elementary School, where currently 617 students attend at a building with an optimum capacity of 622. This year’s enrollment includes 52 students from outside the attendance area, including 36 from Carbondale, and eight from outside the district.

Enrollment will be closely monitored for the remainder of this school year before a final decision is made.

“If there appears to be no decline, the district will communicate that BES will be closed to any new out-of-district and out-of-attendance-area enrollment for the 2009-10 school year,” according to a district office recommendation that was OK’d by the school board.

Even with the freeze, BES will likely climb above its optimum student capacity next year. Another option could be to bring Basalt’s now-vacant Red Brick Building back on line, which would increase capacity by another 200 students.

“We will need to evaluate the costs of bringing that building back on line, compared to the lease or purchase of modulars,” RFSD Superintendent Judy Haptonstall said.

One unknown is whether the current economic recession may result in a decline in enrollment at some district schools, especially with regards to the district’s Latino population.

Some immigrant families are waiting to see what happens with the job situation over the next few months, Haptonstall pointed out, and there is speculation that if it continues to get worse some could return to Mexico or other Latin American countries.

Other district schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt are expected to remain under capacity until at least the 2012-13 school year, and outside enrollment caps are not envisioned at any other locations at this time.

Contact John Stroud: 384-9160

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