School enrollment drops, again

For the second year in a row, enrollment in Carson City schools is down, ending a growth trend that spanned more than a decade. And the cause may be unrelated to education.

"I think it's indicative of the fact that housing in so expensive in Carson City," said Superintendent Mary Pierczynski. "As long as that is the case, we won't see the growth they're seeing in neighboring counties where housing is less expensive."

Although more students attended this year's first day of school than last year's. Nevada's official count day occurs on the third Friday of every September. On that day, only the students who are physically in class are counted and that number determines the amount of money each school district receives from the state.

This year, Carson City will receive $5,105 per pupil.

"We're paid on a per-pupil basis so you really like to keep a level number of students," explained Pierczynski.

This year, there are 73 fewer students than the year before. Last year, enrollment dropped by 36 students.

However, a hold-harmless clause allows schools to use either that year's enrollment numbers or the highest numbers from the previous two years.

So far, the Carson City School District has been able to collect the per-pupil allocations based on the 2002 school year.

"It's going to start to affect us next year for sure," Pierczynski said. "Next year, we'll start to lose some money, if enrollment doesn't go up."

The biggest drop this year was seen at the middle school level, with 84 fewer students. The high school dropped 19 students and the elementary schools increased enrollment by 30 students.

District officials and school board members discussed the effects of decreasing enrollment during their annual retreat Saturday morning.

They decided to become involved with the Envision Carson City workshops as part of the city's master-planning process. They will gauge the city's expected growth to determine what strategy to take in deciding whether the current schools provide adequate space for students.

"The school district will be sure to have a presence at those meetings," Pierczynski said. "Of course, all of that is going to impact what we're going to be doing with our schools."

Contact Teri Vance at or at 881-1272.


What: Envision Carson City

When: 5:30 p.m. Oct. 18

Where: Carson City Communty Center, 851 E. William St.

• • •

When: 7 p.m. Oct. 19

Where: Empire Elementary School, 1260 Monte Rosa Drive

A Spanish-speaking interpreter will be available

• • •

When: 7p.m. Oct. 20

Where: Seeliger Elementary School, 2800 S. Saliman Road

• • •

When: 7 p.m. Oct. 21

Where: Fritsch Elementary School, 504 Bath St.


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