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Enrollment boost for some local districts, more losses for 2

Districts report 10-day enrollment counts
Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 1:44 PM MST|Updated: Aug. 24, 2021 at 1:45 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Funding for school districts is tied to enrollment, and due to the pandemic, most southern Arizona saw that dip last year.

Now, districts are revealing the 10-day enrollment count for this semester.

The news is positive for many of our local districts, but two are seeing another drop. That could mean a dip in funding for both.

Pima County Superintendent Dustin Williams keeps an eye on the numbers

“We’re seeing a jump in enrollment, students are coming back,” he said.

Enrollment boost in local school districts
Enrollment boost in local school districts(KOLD)

Amphi and Sahuarita took big hits last school year and now they’re reporting the largest enrollment boost: 6%.

Vail, Tanque Verde and Flowing Wells report a 3% increase.

Catalina Foothills and Marana report a 1% increase.

Williams believes more students might have returned to districts, but the delta variant emerged, possibly slowing down the momentum.

“We’ve seen a little trend of a late start too, especially now that delta’s come in. So it’s just important to see a good start coming off the momentum, start in the right direction for at least enrollment,” said Williams.

Tucson Unified is the only district that did not provide 10-day enrollment counts.

TUSD has not released enrollment count yet
TUSD has not released enrollment count yet(KOLD)

The district told KOLD, “It requires several weeks to verify all the information. The numbers will need to be presented to the TUSD Governing Board before we make them public, the soonest we will be able to share the information will be on 9/10.”

The Arizona Department of Education told KOLD that schools are required to report enrollment counts every 20 days. September 8th is the deadline.

Nogales and Sunnyside are reporting another year of student losses.

Sunnyside and Nogales Districts report student loss at start of school year.
Sunnyside and Nogales Districts report student loss at start of school year.(KOLD)

Nogales is seeing a 1% drop, 56 fewer students than last year, but the district says they’re still seeing students returning.

In Sunnyside, the 10-day count shows a 3% drop, about 470 fewer students.

But Superintendent Steve Holmes said, it’s not all bad news. He expected a higher number of students leaving.

He explained the district loses about 250 students a year because of an aging community. Birth rates are lower and that means less kindergartners enter the district and move through the grades.

He expected an added loss of 500 students because of the pandemic, totaling 750 students.

“What we saw this year was about a 500 student loss, which was less than we anticipated, although it’s still a loss, but it’s definitely better than what we budgeted for. So it’s one of those good news, bad news stories, right. It’s bad that we’re shrinking as a district. Good that we’re budgeting for it,” said Holmes.

Districts are relieved to see a fall rebound, but the lingering question remains: Has enrollment risen to pre-pandemic numbers?

Most provided end of year enrollment counts in 2020.

Marana and Vail enrollment counts show they have more students than before the pandemic hit.

Amphi, Tanque Verde and Catalina Foothills are close to full recovery.

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