School District 51 releases new enrollment numbers, says schools still overcrowded

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

School District 51 released new enrollment numbers for the current school year Tuesday night that officials call surprising.

School officials say at the start of summer break this past year, they received a lot of calls from parents requesting school records and thought because of the downturn in the economy, a lot of families were going to move out of the district. But to their surprise, enrollment numbers for this year went virtually unchanged.

During a school board meeting Tuesday night, administrators told board members total enrollment was only down a half percent from last year -- a loss of roughly 118 students.

While that's good news in terms of state funding for the district, in that they're not losing a big chunk of money, it still leaves many schools overcrowded.

Officials say as of October, 13 of the District's 25 elementary schools are at or over capacity. Central High School has 186 more students than desks and both Grand Junction and Palisade High Schools are hovering right at capacity.

Last year, the district came up with a list of short term solutions to overcrowding problem -- and officials say these new numbers will help them as they continue to work on that problem.

"Ultimately we're gonna need to look for long term solutions," says Melissa Callahan daVita, executive director of Support Services for School District 51. "But right now I think we're gonna hang tight and continue to watch the numbers."

The school district says it feels fortunate that enrollment numbers are where they're at because several other districts across the state have taken major hits this year.

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