Vail Valley school enrollment remains steady | VailDaily.com

Vail Valley school enrollment remains steady

Sarah Mausolf
smausolf@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Early enrollment numbers at the schools suggest families aren’t fleeing the valley because of the recession.

Nor are they scrambling to pull their kids out of private schools.

However, some extended families appear to be consolidating into one home, instead of living in different homes throughout the valley. That’s one observation Mike Gass noticed as he looked at enrollment trends in the Eagle County School District. He’s the district’s executive director of student services.

Gass thinks the consolidation of families is one reason why about 20 students have transferred from Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum to Battle Mountain High School in Edwards.

“The good news is, they’re staying in the district,” Gass said. “The challenge for the kids is they’re switching schools to be able to stay in the community.”

Early numbers put the district’s enrollment for this school year at 6,185 – about the same as last year, Gass said.

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“Right now, we’re just about flat,” he said.

School officials say they won’t have firm numbers until school starts.

In the absence of hard figures, there are signs more students have arrived at the public schools.

The number of students who signed up for sports physicals is up compared to last year, Gass said. Eagle Valley High School reports that 252 kids signed up for physicals this summer compared with 210 last year. Battle Mountain High School had about 180 kids sign up this year, up from about 165 last year.

Those numbers could point to a boost in enrollment, Gass said. However, they could just reflect a jump in the number of students choosing to play sports, or an increase in the number of kids who opted to get their physicals at the school through The Steadman Clinic.

Along with the physicals, the district reports a drop in the number of students requesting transfers to schools outside the district. That figure is down 30 percent compared to this time last year, Gass said.

“Right now, we’re seeing more new enrollees than requests to have students go to other places,” he said.

About half the public schools are showing an increase in enrollment while the rest are showing drops, Gass said. For example, June Creek Elementary in Edwards has seen 42 more students arrive since last year whereas Avon Elementary in Avon reports enrollment holding steady after an exodus of families last year.

Last year enrollment at Avon Elementary dwindled from 281 to 255 students, principal Melisa Rewold-Thuon said.

She said a number of parents lost their jobs and had not been able to support their families in the valley on one income.

At Stone Creek Charter School in Avon, which is not part of the district, enrollment has stayed steady at about 200 students, operations administrator Carrie Kirkutis said.

Despite the recession, parents still seem to be willing to pay tuition for private schools.

Vail Christian High School in Edwards reports only a small drop in enrollment this year: enrollment is down three students to 79 students, Head of School Randy Lowe said.

“We’re really grateful that in spite of everything that happened last year, we’re doing as well as we are,” he said.

Last year, the school announced it would be closing this year due to financial woes. However, an anonymous donor swooped in and saved the school.

As of Friday, Vail Mountain School in Vail reported a small boost in enrollment compared to last year. The school showed 346 students this year compared to 341 last year, school spokeswoman Emily Tamberino said. She stressed that the school is still in the midst of enrollment.

St. Clare of Assisi in Edwards reports about 145 students, which is roughly the same as last year, office administrator Sue Huseby said.

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or smausolf@vaildaily.com.