Study: PASD enrollment slide "bottoming out"

March 7th, 2008 - 6:15am


(Port Angeles) -- The Port Angeles School District has commissioned a demographic study, trying to better determine the enrollment make up of the district over the next two decades.

The district has faced steep enrollment declines over the past ten years, about one-fifth of the student population. But superintendent Dr. Gary Cohn says the new demographic study has some encouraging news.

It shows the worse of the decline may be over, a relatively flat enrollment rate should hold for the next few years. But Cohn says a flat enrollment wouldn't necessarily mean an easier budget for the district, because of climbing costs and unfunded mandates from the state and federal governments. The study raises one possiblity:

Selling one of the two elementary schools the district has closed due to plunging enrollment. Cohn says that's one possibility an advisory committee on long-range facility planning and bond issues may consider. Cohn says ultimately the school board will be able to use the study to make some tough, long-range decisions on the future of the district.

The study was conducted by a team of demographers based in Skagit County.



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