Douglas County’s Lake Schools see declining enrollment |

Douglas County’s Lake Schools see declining enrollment

Scott Murphy

Although enrollment at Douglas County’s Lake Tahoe schools continues to decline, one district official believes it will level off.

Rick Kester, director of business services, said the population of nearly 800 students at Lake Tahoe fell by about 80 pupils, according to recent enrollment figures. Overall, district enrollment fell by 30 students, compared with 164 in 1999-2000 and 130 for 2000-01.

Kester said the district is “a little concerned” about Lake Tahoe. “Those schools are getting fairly small.” He attributed much of the decline to the recent closing of the Kahle Drive apartments, which housed about 100 Douglas County students.

The enrollment drop won’t affect school funding this year because of legislation that allows districts to use the higher enrollment figure during the last two years. However, the district could lose about $450,000 in funding for 2002-03 unless enrollment increases next year.

“It’s still not catastrophic,” Kester said. “Those aren’t major losses out of a $40 million operation budget.”

Enrollment will continue to “drift downward,” he said, partially because of a lack of affordable housing at Lake Tahoe. The trend could result in minor personnel cuts.

“If you’re teaching fewer kids, you have to reduce your staffing,” Kester said.

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