Thursday, August 31, 2000
Hayden With less than a week left until classes start, it looks like Hayden's school enrollment will be down by at least 27 from last year.
However, until the 2000-01 school year is officially under way, it is not certain how many students will be enrolled in the Hayden schools, Superintendent Scott Mader said.
The immediate impacts of dwindling enrollment includes tighter school budgets, and less revenue for projects like heating, roofing and other construction projects.
With the state providing an estimated $6,000 per student, 27 fewer students would also mean a loss of $162,000.
While budgets will be tighter, fewer students also mean fewer expenditures, Mader pointed out.
Some of the reasons enrollment figures are dropping are as concerning as the loss in per-pupil funding.
While much of the loss of students is due to an abnormally small incoming freshman class approximately 27 students versus the 41 seniors who graduated last spring the district is also experiencing an abnormally high number of student drop-outs.
"It was a lot more than expected," Mader said. "And a bit surprising."
Last year, 11 students dropped out of Hayden High School.
"It was surprising to all of us," high school principal Nick Schafer said. "Some of them were on the honor roll last year at this time."
Schafer said he is not exactly sure why so many students dropped out, but said he knows for a fact that some of the drop-outs left because of changes in school policy.
"We didn't institute any new rules," he said. "We just started really strictly enforcing some of the old rules. No smoking, no laying in the hallways, no tardiness, and a strict attendance policy.
"I have been led to believe by conversations with some others that these rules haven't always been so strictly enforced. And a couple of students dropping out told me it just wasn't any fun to be here anymore. You couldn't be a jerk and get away with it."
Hayden also is losing some of its students to Steamboat.
Routt County schools have open enrollment, so that a student living in the Hayden School District can request to go attend a Steamboat school. Although the Steamboat district can turn those requests down, generally it has not done so.
"Some Hayden kids want to get in that Winter Sports Club in the worst way," Schafer said. "Some of them even move to Steamboat for it."
Others request to transfer to Steamboat because their parents work in Steamboat, and it makes transportation to and from school much easier.
Schafer also said that graduation requirements in Hayden are much tougher than in Craig or Steamboat. In Hayden a student must have 25 credits to graduate, whereas a Steamboat or Craig student need complete 21.
"That's four whole extra classes a student has to take and pass to graduate in Hayden," he said.
This year, Schafer and student counselor Deanna Denver are going to hold exit-interviews with both graduates and drop-outs, if possible, to determine how the Hayden schools have or have not met student needs.