By DAVID GREEN
The good thing about this year’s drop in enrollment for Morenci Area Schools is that the decline isn’t as great as expected.
When preparing the budget in June, finance director Erica Metcalf projected a decline of 24 students from the number enrolled when school ended in June, for a total of 721. That projection followed the trend in declining enrollment from recent years.
On student count day last week, 744 students were enrolled, a decline of 16 from a year ago. However, last year there were 10 students enrolled in Morenci’s alternative education class—several from outside the district—but the district has no alternative education students this year. Not including the alternative school, the change in enrollment is only six fewer than a year ago.
The biggest change from 2010-11 comes at the elementary school where student numbers fell by 26.
That’s partially due to last year’s extra large fourth grade class that’s now in the middle school—and still growing. This year’s first and third grade classes both lost seven students over the summer, while the second grade class grew by five.
This year’s fifth grade class is now up to 71—an increase of six—to help raise the middle school enrollment by 10.
The high school enrollment includes a range of class sizes, from the 45 members of the senior class to 66 in the freshman class. Total enrollment increased by 13 from a year ago as last year’s 42 seniors graduated and the large freshman class moved in.
Enrollment could still fluctuate some because any changes over the following two weeks after count day must be reported.