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Fri, Jan. 24

Numbers up for Chino,Prescott; Mayer sees drop in enrollment

While the Prescott and Chino Valley unified school districts experienced "manageable growth" this school year, Mayer Unified School District's enrollment has declined.

All four local districts (PUSD, CVUSD, MUSD and Humboldt Unified) observed their 100th day of the 2004-05 school year at various times near the end of this past month.

The Arizona Department of Education uses an Average Daily Membership (ADM) calculation from the 100th day of enrollment to determine how much money each district receives.

PUSD Supt. Kevin Kapp said Thursday that PUSD's enrollment increased by 138 students, or 2.8 percent, to total about 5,014 students, according to preliminary numbers. (Each district must reconcile its numbers with the state before finalizing them.)

"This is wonderful growth," Kapp said. "It's manageable and it's positive growth, which is what we've been working towards."

Miller Valley and Taylor Hicks elementary schools grew by 31 and 20 students, respectively, filling some grade levels to capacity. Prescott High grew by 51 students.

Along the same lines, CVUSD Supt. Linda Nelson said, her district has grown by 75 students, also 2.8 percent, to a total of about 2,599 students.

"This growth is substantial and manageable," she said.

Although Nelson said the increase in student enrollment was evenly distributed across the district, much of it occurred at Del Rio Elementary, which follows the district's growth pattern.

"We can accommodate it if it increases consistently," she said.

MUSD Supt. Jim Nelson (no relation to Linda Nelson) said this is the second year in which the district's ADM has declined slightly.

"Our numbers have been going up and up, and you get to a certain point and they've got to come down," said Jim Nelson, who declined to give exact numbers until the MUSD reconciles its numbers with the state.

He became Mayer's superintendent four years ago and, by his second year, the numbers started to increase by about 30 or 40 students. Since then, the numbers have decreased slightly.

The primary reason for a decrease in the ADM is because "one-third of our population moves in and out. We have a lot of foster homes in our district, and when the courts put them into homes, sometimes they're long-term and sometimes they're short-term."

He said the district also has a lot of children coming in with their families from Phoenix, Flagstaff and other places, and "many spend one year in our district or may spend only a portion of the year here." Also, he said, "a lot of people are moving into the Prescott area."

The district has formed an ad hoc committee of staff, administration, a board member and community members to come up with ways of increasing student enrollment.

"They will look at what affects the budget and what buffers can alleviate some of the transient movement in our community," he said.

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