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The Highland school board took a first look at student numbers for the year Monday night.
The preliminary figures show a drop of five students overall from last year.
But there were some positives. The number of students living in the district and attending Highland was up by five students, and the number of preschool 4-year-olds was up six students.
Those gains were offset by an increase of 11 students who live in the district but attend school in a different district.
“That’s not necessarily good,” district business manager Sue Rich said about the increase in the number of students leaving the district for other schools.
Rich presented the numbers to the school board. These numbers are preliminary and will not be finalized until Oct. 15.
The official student count is important because the district receives funds from the state based on that number.
The actual enrollment in the Highland district has dropped over the past three years:
• 2016-17: 622.
• 2017-18: 584.
• 2018-19: 579.24.
The percentage of students is based on formulas the state uses to determine enrollment. For example, the preschool 4-year-old are each counted as a half a student because they do not attend school all day.
The number of students live in Highland who opt to attend other districts continues to grow:
• 2016-17: 102.3.
• 2017-18: 110.2
• 2018-19: 119.4.
Rich said that 12 kindergarten students living in the Highland district opted to move to another district.
School board member Megan Allen questioned why students are leaving the district and asked if those other districts are offering programs that could be considered in Highland.
“Their services are not vastly different than what we offer here,” high school principal Angela Hazlett said.
She said often the students leaving the district are following siblings who are enrolled in the other district or attending school near where their parents work.