The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Enrollment numbers up at Valdez City Schools - so far

The first week of school sees higher student population than projected


Valdez City Schools has seen an increase in its student enrollment numbers a week after opening its doors.

"We were budgeted for 604 for the year," Superintendent Jim Nygaard said Monday night in his report to the board of education. "As of the end of the day, we're at 627."

And he expects the number of students attending school in Valdez to increase in the coming weeks.

"That doesn't include home school," Nygaard said, which has 23 students enrolled for its second year of operation.

Melissa Reese, principal of Hermon Hutchens Elementary School, reported an enrollment of 304 preschool through fifth grade students.

Rod Morrison, principal of Gilson Middle School, said his school has an enrollment of 138 students.

Rod Schug, principal of Valdez High School, said his student population is the same as last year, 176.

"We had a bunch of kids that moved out last year," he told the board, "but we had a bunch move in this year."

Student enrollment numbers are a moving target and not always easy to report in round numbers. This is due to the fact that not all students attend school full time; a number of home-school students attend one or more classes in the district.

Valdez is bucking a statewide trend in declining student enrollment.

Student numbers are important to school districts because a large portion of its state funding is tied directly to the number of students enrolled in its schools.

The state legislature sets the amount of money each district gets per pupil using a formula known as the base student allocation.

All schools in Alaska receive the base student allocation well after the school year begins. Each October, districts report daily attendance to the state during a set period of time, and schools are funded based on that attendance for the rest of the year, even if student enrollment grows or declines.


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