By Jerome Tharaud/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Enrollment numbers for Havre Public Schools taken earlier this month show Havre is holding its own in enrollment for the first time in several years, Superintendent Kirk Miller said Tuesday.
The enrollment count, taken Oct. 6, shows an increase of 32 students in grades K-8, 1,323 students up from 1,291 students enrolled on Oct. 6 last year. Havre High School showed a decrease of 23 students to 681, down from 704 this time last year. Taken together the figures mean an increase of nine students, for a total district enrollment of 2,004. That number will be averaged with a count taken in February to determine the district's state funding levels for the 2004-2005 school year.
Some factors temper the rosy picture, Miller said. Much of the enrollment increase came in kindergarten. The state allocation for those students is half what it is for other students, he said.
Another cause for caution, he said, is that the grade levels that bring in the most money, grades 7-12, lost students. Those grades receive about $5,371 per student, compared with about $4,031 for students in grades 1-6.
Even so, Miller said, the change is preferable to last year, when the district lost 82 students. He said the count is the first enrollment gain since he became superintendent about eight years ago, and that he is "cautiously optimistic."
"So it appears, for one year anyway, we have a reprieve and we have leveled out our enrollment decline," he said, adding that school budgets next year should be about what they are this year.