School district enrollment equation: More students equals more money |

School district enrollment equation: More students equals more money

Sara Thompson
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / South Tahoe Middle School students return to class after lunch on Tuesday afternoon.

Students who simply show up for class could help their schools gain more funding.

Starting today, teachers will officially count enrollment for the annual demographic data collection. For each student, the Lake Tahoe Unified School District will receive $5,000 from the state of California.

Enrollment data collected by the California Basic Education Data System will be used to allocate district funding. Official enrollment will be determined after the state receives numbers from all California schools.

For the past five years, the district has been losing students, said Barbara Bannar, president of the Lake Tahoe Unified School District School Board. Now, the projected numbers are staying even.

“We have to keep our fingers on the numbers every week,” Bannar said.

Last school year, enrollment started out with 4,291 students and ended with 4,186 students. This year, projected enrollment is 4,210 students if everyone attends, school district spokesperson Angie Keil wrote in an e-mail.

The district has been unable to pinpoint the direct cause of change in enrollment. Bannar said it could be attributed to the first snow fall, which usually results in an enrollment decrease. Also, an increase in housing prices could be the cause. She said the board thought it would lose students after the fire, but that didn’t materialize.

“We have no usual (trends),” Bannar said, referring to enrollment.

Enrollment on the Nevada side, however, is dropping.

At Whittell High School, Principal Sue Shannon also said housing prices could be the cause, along with more students leaving to be home-schooled.

Carol Lark, superintendent of the Douglas County School District, said she was told the decline in enrollment reflects the lack of young families moving to the area because they can’t afford housing.

In attempt to garner additional funding through enrollment, California schools will promote attendance through incentive programs today. To encourage turnout, South Tahoe Middle School will hold an attendance raffle, along with leadership activities for students during lunch.

Attendance is always important, said Becky Fortier, secretary to the assistant principal.

“How are you going to learn if you’re not here?” Fortier asked.

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