Projected enrollment down

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The Hayden School District is down eight students from its projected count, but Superintendent Mike Luppes said the shortfall would have only a minimal effect on the district's budget.

On Friday, the state's official pupil count day, 430 students were enrolled in the district. At the end of last school year, district officials projected 438 students for the 2005-06 school year based on the number of seniors who graduated and the number of kindergartners expected.

The state uses the official pupil count to determine how much funding the district will receive.

Kindergartners are funded half the amount of full-time students. The count also includes Cyber School students who take online classes. Those students are funded at the state's base rate, which this year is about $5,700 a student.

Pupil funding for regular Hayden students, about $7,230 a student, considers other factors, including cost-of-living increases and the number of students in the free- and reduced-lunch program, Luppes said.

The state allows districts to average four years of enrollment figures for funding purposes. Based on that formula, Hayden's funded student count will be down about half a student from the projected count, Luppes said.

"Budget wise, we're very, very close to what we budgeted for this school year," he said.

The 2005 count is down 28 students from the 2004 count. Most of the decline is at Hayden Valley Elementary School, where the district has seen a decrease in the number of kindergartners entering the school system.

The district also has seen a large number of families move out of Hayden, Luppes said.

Last spring, the district expected enrollment to decrease about 20 students, which, when using the four-year average, would represent a loss of about $40,000. That projection prompted the Hayden School Board to tighten spending to preserve the district's dwindling reserve operating funds.

The district will not receive state funding for students who enroll in the schools after Oct. 1.

Unlike funding for regular full-time students, funding for students in Cyber School -- considered an alternative school by the state -- can change.

Currently, the district has nine Cyber School students, most of whom live in Moffat County or Steamboat Springs, Luppes said.

The state audits the Cyber School every three years to make sure students are fulfilling various requirements. If they aren't, the district could have to return money to the state, as was the case several years ago, Luppes said.

The district is expecting the next Cyber School audit to take place next spring or summer, he said.

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