Enrollment numbers increase

Published 10:53 am Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Though enrollment numbers aren’t official, Austin Public Schools staff are watching even more students come into the classrooms this year.

Preliminary headcounts show about 4,598 students attended the first week of school in Austin, according to district officials.

Those numbers aren’t set yet as students move in and out of the district and enrollment registers are updated.

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“That first week count isn’t very accurate,” said Mark Stotts, finance and operations director.

This year’s preliminary headcount is slightly less than the district’s preliminary projection of 4,639 last year, but Stotts said the student headcount will rise as the school year gets under way. When district officials report official enrollment numbers — computed based on average daily headcounts as opposed to straight headcounts — in October, Stotts said the district will most likely have 50 more students than last year.

The enrollment numbers follow the basic rising trend Austin has felt over the past several years.

“We are up almost 300 kids over the last five years,” Stotts said.

Last school year, about 4,520 students attended Austin schools, compared to about 4,425 in 2011. As the 2013 school year gets rolling, Stotts expects district enrollment to closely mirror an estimate done by state demographer Hazel Reinhart based on Mower County birth records, which showed Austin would increase by 300 to 400 students by 2014, and as much as 1,000 students by 2019.

Stotts said despite what Austin officials first figured, enrollment has the report’s upper and maximum projections over the years, which means more and more students are coming into the district. While this year’s student enrollment is supposed to slightly raise, the district is bracing for a large student gain in the 2014 school year.