Another 60 students join Steamboat Springs School District |

Another 60 students join Steamboat Springs School District

Teresa Ristow

First grader Parker Horn gets a hug from his mom, Jessica, while waiting to go back to class at Strawberry Park Elementary School. Wednesday morning marked the start of the 2015-16 school year for students in Steamboat Springs. South Routt Schools began the year last Monday, and Hayden will return to classes Sept. 8.

— Enrollment is up yet again in the Steamboat Springs School District; with about 60 new students reporting to class Wednesday, district enrollment now totals 2,527 students.

"What it's telling me is that more people are moving to town or they're seeking the district out to move here," said Superintendent Brad Meeks.

The district had originally based budget projections on a conservative 30 new students for the year, but later this spring raised the number to 50. Projections are usually kept on the conservative side in order to play it safe with revenue projections, so 60 students isn't a surprising number, Meeks said.

The district has grown in enrollment every year since 2003, when 1,912 students were enrolled. Last year, the district counted 2,467 students during the official Oct. 1 count that determines per-pupil funding.

Of the district's new students this year, 23 reside outside district boundaries. Of those, 14 are from South Routt, eight are from Hayden and one is from Moffat County.

Students are only accepted if the grade they are entering has adequate staffing and space to accommodate them the year they apply. Seven applications were denied this year in grades without space, such as seventh and ninth grades, Meeks said.

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Of the 23 new out-of-district students, 10 are kindergartners and four are first graders.

Once accepted, students are considered part of the district and need not reapply to transfer each year.

"Once we accept them, we keep them, unless the families decide to go back to their home attendance area," he said.

Meeks said this year's kindergarten class was a little smaller than projected, which provided space for the transferring students. He said kindergarten classes are always the hardest to project, because the students are just entering the school system.

The 14 students transferring from South Routt have impacted that district's enrollment for the year, which hovered around 350 this week. The district is down 41 students from October's count of 391.

Aside from the lower-than-expected student count, new South Routt principals said during this week’s board meeting that the first day of school Monday went well.

"It felt like a very strong start," said Lyn McCarty, the new Soroco High School and Soroco Middle School principal.

Classes in the Hayden School District begin Sept. 8, and preliminary enrollment estimates were not available Wednesday. District officials said that enrollment at the end of last year was down 20 students from the Oct. 1 count, to 363 students.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow