Downvalley school enrollment remains steady | AspenTimes.com

Downvalley school enrollment remains steady

BASALT – Enrollment in the sprawling school district that includes Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs is expected to be about the same in 2009-10 as the prior academic year.

Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Judy Haptonstall told Basalt Town Council members this week that preliminary numbers indicate enrollment will be a€œup a smidge” districtwide. That is a bit of a surprise because of the recession, she said. There was speculation that families are leaving the Roaring Fork Valley because of the poor economy and, therefore, school enrollment would drop. There’s no sign of that, Haptonstall said.

Enrollment in the Basalt school system is also expected to be up slightly this school year compared to last, according to Assistant Superintendent Shannon Pelland. The first-grade class is significantly larger than most other classes, so it will affect Basalt schools for the next 11 years, she said. A typical class is between 114 and 123 students in Basalt. The first-grade class this year has 163 students.

All attendance figures are unofficial at this point. Oct. 1 is the official day used to establish enrollment. The figure is important because it determines the amount of state financial aid.

The school district closed Basalt Elementary School to students outside the attendance area this school year in an effort to slow the growth. The school has some a€œwiggle room” to deal with the surge in the first-grade class, Haptonstall said. The old Red Brick Elementary school building was decommissioned earlier this decade but it wasn’t torn down. A sprinkler system was installed to bring that building back to code, and it can now be used again as demand warrants.

scondon@aspentimes.com