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Mary Beenken, Published November 09 2010

Moorhead student numbers stabilize

The number of students enrolling in the Moorhead Public School system is expected to plateau in the coming years, according to a report by Assistant Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak at a school board meeting Monday night.

“When people ask us, ‘How is your enrollment?’ typically our answer is, ‘stable to growing,’ ” Kazmierczak said.

Enrollment projections are based on data from the previous five years, including the difference in the number of students in the largest and smallest classes.

This year’s largest class is fourth grade, with 446 students. The smallest class is 11th grade, with 383 students. According to Kazmierczak, this discrepancy is smaller than in previous years and bodes well for the school district.

“The variance between the smallest and the largest (class sizes) is actually less than it has been in the past,” he said.

There was also a smaller deficit between the number of students in kindergarten and the number in 12th grade than in previous years.

“That’s a good thing,” Kazmierczak said. “That means things will stabilize, most likely.”

While the overall number of students in the district has decreased slightly from a year ago, enrollment numbers have not fallen as dramatically as last year’s projections indicated they would.

“We’re roughly … 40 students higher than what we projected a year ago,” Kazmierczak said.

However, he also warned that these projections must be used with caution because a pattern of growth in the past does not necessarily guarantee growth in the future.

“When you’re using a five-year history, and the history shows that we’re growing … it would grow forever,” Kazmierczak said. “When we get out three, four years, that’s where we start to get a little nervous about numbers like this.”

In addition to enrollment projections, the school board reviewed the 2010 fiscal audit report and planned a work session for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 13 to discuss school district and board priorities.

Bryce Haugen, the man elected to a two-year seat on the school board after withdrawing from the election, has not yet announced whether he will accept that seat. According to Board Chairwoman Kristine Thompson, the board has not yet heard from Haugen. He has 30 days to fill out his certificate of election before the board takes action to fill his seat.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mary Beenken at (970) 227-5613