Steamboat Springs School District enrollment up once again

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— The Steamboat Springs School District is experiencing a spike in enrollment for the 2013-14 school year.

Since 2006, the six schools that comprise the Steamboat district have combined to increase student numbers from about 2,000 to just more than 2,400 this academic year. The jump from last year to this year is one of the most dramatic bumps during the past seven years with an enrollment increase of 84 students.

During Monday’s Steamboat Springs School Board meeting, ideas were raised on how to monitor enrollment increases throughout the school year to help the board plan for another possible enrollment jump.

Superintendent Brad Meeks said the process ultimately would take a year or so to conduct a study, consider recommendations and have the School Board take action.

A number of factors could be contributing to the enrollment increases, Meeks said, including birth rates and out-of-town families sending their children to Steamboat schools.

“It’s probably a combination of all of those,” Meeks said. “Increased birth rate, people that can choose to live here. The housing market kind of hit a point where people could afford to live here if you’re moving in from outlying areas.”

Of the schools under the school district umbrella, Steamboat Springs Middle School and Steamboat Springs High School saw increases in the past year of 32 students and 28 students, respectively. North Routt Community Charter School also saw a significant bump of 10 students.

The district won’t have its final projections until after Oct. 1, the day the final 2013-14 counts are tallied.

Meeks noted Monday in his presentation that current projections show an enrollment decline for next school year. But should enrollment continue to climb in the future, measures will have to be taken to ensure space and teacher and student well-being.

Meeks said no elementary principals have voiced concern about the matter, but the School Board will be monitoring the situation nonetheless.

Solutions in the past have come in the form of modular classrooms. Meeks said it’s “not ideal, but not unusual.”

Concerns about continued enrollment growth aside, Meeks said it’s not a bad problem to have.

“It’s one of those good problems to have when people want to come to your district,” Meeks said.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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