TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Preliminary student enrollment figures for the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District are up this year after being in decline since the 2008-09 school year.
As of Sept. 14, 3,782 students were attending school within the district, compared to the enrollment number of 3,731 last year (according to the count as of Oct. 5, 2011), amounting to an increase of 51 students, officials revealed last week.
“We are pleased to see that enrollment is increasing,” said Rob Leri, superintendent of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. “We have not investigated the source of that increase yet, but we will look into our numbers.”
Some possible reasons for the increase, he said, include: people moving into the school district, students transferring or returning to one of the district’s 11 schools, or an increase in the birth rate.
A trend that has Leri particularly excited is the increase in kindergarten enrollment.
This year, 394 children are attending kindergarten in the district, the largest grade level enrollment figure in the K-12 district, up from 336 last year.
“That’s always a good sign,” Leri said. “When you start with a large kindergarten class, they’ll usually increase as they matriculate through K-8 grades.”
Lower grades within the district saw the largest increases in their student enrollment from last year.
Similar to kindergarten, sixth grade increased by 58 students, with eighth grade and fourth grade following with a student body increase of 46 and 41, respectively, year over year.
Overall increased enrollment or steady student enrollment, Leri said, helps the district retain staff and academic programs in order to accommodate the students.
Sometimes, it even gives a district an opportunity to add programs and classes.
This year, as result of the enrollment increase, two new classes were added to Truckee Elementary School, Leri said: a kindergarten class and a first- and second-grade combination class.
However, neither an increase in enrollment nor a decrease has an impact on the district’s revenues, Leri said, considering it’s a basic aid district, which means its budget is largely based on local property tax revenues.
While the district saw a spike in enrollment overall, certain grades did see a decline.
Seventh grade saw the biggest drop, going from 319 students last year to 244 this year. Both third grade and 12th grade dropped by 28 students, where as 11th grade and fifth grade dropped by 23 students.
Leri said enrollment figures per grade tend to fluctuate throughout the year.
“Normally, it decreases in the second semester, especially in secondary school, high school, because students may elect to do other programs or they move,” he said.
But until then, Leri said enrollment figures could increase, though “probably not significantly.”