With the second week of schools well under way, enrollment in most of the East County’s largest school districts is trending upward, following many years of decline, school staff say.
In the Montesano School District, total enrollment is up slightly, increasing from an average of 1,205 last year to 1,218 to start the 2013-14 school year — an increase of 1.1 percent. Montesano Jr./Sr. High School has 582 students to begin this year, down from an average of 622 last year; Simpson Elementary School is up from an average of 266 last year to 300 students this year and Beacon Elementary has 336, up from an average of 317 last year.
“We’re happy with it,” said Montesano School District Superintendent Dan Winter, referring to this year’s enrollment figures. “We’ve actually seen an increase the last couple of years. We’re not looking at declining enrollment any more by any means.”
In Elma, school district enrollment is up from an average of 1,446 students last year to 1,482 this year, according to Elma School District Superintendent Howard King. That’s an increase of 2.5 percent.
“We’ve been going down every year for, probably, the last 12 years,” said King. “But I think that the downward trend bottomed out. I think down the road we’ll start to see more increases.”
There are 603 students enrolled at Elma High School to begin this year with 321 more at the middle school and 558 at Elma Elementary School.
Meanwhile, the McCleary School District begins the school year with 287 students enrolled.
“We’re down about 20 from last year, which is a lot for us,” said McCleary Superintendent Tita Mallory. “But we’re already above what we budgeted for this year, which is great.”
Oakville School District has 248 students to start the year — 128 students at the elementary school and 120 at the high school.