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Mon, Oct. 14

PUSD sees slight decrease in enrollment

The Prescott Unified School District has lost some students this year.

Superintendent Kevin Kapp told the governing board Tuesday night that as of Aug. 31 district enrollment was down 88 students, or 1.5 percent.

At the end of August, total enrollment was 5,637 students compared to 5,725 on Aug. 28, 2008.

Kapp said enrollment increased slightly from the first day of school, Aug. 10. At that time, enrollment was down 120 students.

"So there is a lessening of the gap. As you know, the district gets its funding based on the 100-day count, which this year will be about January," Kapp said.

The superintendent said enrollment would be less if not for an increase in out-of-district students attending PUSD schools. He said this year 44 additional out-of-district students enrolled compared to the previous school year.

Kapp said that even with a decrease in numbers, some elementary classes have more students than the district's preferred count. "It is something we may have to live with," he said.

Governing Board Vice Chairman Dee Navarro asked what the decrease in enrollment means to the district budget.

"It would be about a $400,000 hit to the 2010-11 budget, wouldn't it?" Navarro asked.

Chief Financial Officer Renee Raskin said Navarro's estimate was correct.

Enrollment totals at the district schools includes: Abia Judd, 652; Lincoln, 333; Miller Valley, 368; Taylor Hicks, 542; Washington Traditional, 304; Granite Mountain, 617; Prescott Mile High, 722; Prescott High School, 1,917; and Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy, 134.

Kapp said he is optimistic about one area in the district: the online high school.

He said about 100 students signed up for classes.

"I would like to see that double for a number of reasons: We retain our students, we get funding for the students, and, if we attract students from outside, it brings in revenue," Kapp said.

The superintendent said, "If you agree with online classes or not, it is a reality. My goal is to offer an entire curriculum," Kapp said.

Kapp added it embarrasses him that Arizona lawmakers have yet to approve a budget.

"To say they are having a hard bargain is putting it mildly. There is a budget on the governor's desk similar to the one the legislature proposed in June," Kapp said.

The governor has until Sept. 5 to sign or veto the budget bill. Kapp said if the governor signs the budget, the state would cut money to schools by an additional $75 per student.

"We will have to wait and see what the governor does," Kapp said.

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