Number of students now trends upward
Reversal could fill new school
At one point, the Grand Coulee Dam School District was worried about a declining student population; now it is worried that it could end up with too many students.
The issue came up Monday night at the school board meeting with Superintendent Dennis Carlson telling the board that the new school facility could be maxed out when it opens next fall.
He asked the question: “Are we going to have a lot of students come here because we have a new school?”
When plans were made for the new school, the student population trend line had followed a downward slope for years.
The steady decline in student population apparently has bottomed out and monthly attendance records suggest that it might be moving upward again. The district is now averaging over 666 students.
When officials planned the new facility, which is designed for 800 students, the district kindergarten enrollment was considerably lower and this year a pre-school was added.
Carlson said that how many new students a new facility might attract is the unknown.
The board plans to continue its discussion about this during its workshop meeting March 12.
Carlson said Monday that in the lower grades, furniture is planned for 24 students, suggesting this might be the size of those classes.
Carlson informed the board that state law allows students who reside within the boundaries of an Indian reservation to attend any bordering school district tuition free. He stated that districts can develop policies to limit such students, providing that space is not available.
John Adkins, superintendent of the Nespelem School District, said that their low average of 12 students per class is a strong component of the school and is appreciated by parents. He acknowledged that the law does allow for movement of students from one district to another.