COOS COUNTY — School enrollment numbers are up for this year, but down for some.
The Coquille School District has seen the largest enrollment jump. For the 2017/18 school year, there are 1,086 currently enrolled in the district, whereas last year there were 969. In 2015/16, there were 875 students enrolled.
“We really aren't sure why our numbers have taken off the way they have,” said Coquille Superintendent Tim Sweeney in a previous interview. “We are very humbled and appreciative that folks have decided to come to the Coquille School District and we continue to strive to make them happy they have chosen us. But I don't think there is a single answer as to why this is happening.”
The North Bend School District has also seen an increase in school enrollment numbers. This year, there were 2,262 students enrolled in the district. In 2016/17, there were 2,202 students.
“The board is interested in taking a look at the overall performance and those enrollment numbers are part of the performance indicator,” said district communications specialist, Brad Bixler. “We’re in the process of looking at that and developing strategies to see some improvement. Certain grade levels are stronger than others. We know that, but we have to understand why.”
One of the stronger grade levels, as far as student enrollment goes, Hillcrest Elementary has 108 5th Graders while North Bay Elementary has 87 5th Graders.
The Coos Bay School District has seen student growth at the elementary level for the past few years, but that has now changed. This year’s student enrollment at the elementary level have decreased.
“It’s spread out,” said district Superintendent Bryan Trendell. “Some of our students, particularly our kindergarten numbers, are roughly what we thought they would be but are down a little bit, which could be attributed to the Lighthouse Charter School. Lighthouse is easier for some folks to get to now that it’s in our district.”
This year’s enrollment number is 3,066, but even that is lower than the district expected.
“We budgeted for close to 3,080,” Trendell said. “The numbers are actually coming in as we thought they would.”
He explained that about 20 percent of the student population is transient, or that they come and go, so it can be difficult for the district to pinpoint what they will end up with on a year-to-year basis.
“Enrollment in rural Oregon in general is a moving target,” Trendell said. “When you have 20 percent of your population coming and going, it’s hard to pinpoint and plan for that when you’re looking at a budget year and trying to budget for the following year. We did a pretty good job this last year predicting where our enrollment was going to fall. I feel good about that.”