Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

District Enrollments Up in All but Warren County

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

District Enrollments Up in All but Warren County

Article excerpt

Enrollment increased this fall in all school districts but one in St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren counties, state figures show.

The exception was the Warren County R-3 School District, which started operating on a double shift in September. Its enrollment declined by 81 students to 2,268.

Growth continued at a steady pace in the Francis Howell and Fort Zumwalt school districts with each getting about 5 percent more students than last year.

The growth rate was less than 1 percent in the Elsberry and Washington school districts.

Each year, the state collects data from school districts on enrollment on the last Wednesday in September - Sept. 27 this year. The information becomes the base for data as the school year continues.

"Double sessions made an inroad in our enrollment," said Warren County Superintendent James Dishman. "Some students went to home schooling, and others moved to another district."

The loss of 81 students did not ease the district's space crunch, he says. "Five hundred students didn't have a seat" when the school year started, he said.

To deal with the problem, the district operates its high school from 6 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. Then the space becomes available to the junior high school, which runs from 12:40 p.m. to 7:25 p.m.

In April, the school district will ask voters for the third time to approve financing for a new high school, Dishman says. The school board will decide in January what proposals to put on the ballot.

Enrollment grew by about 5 percent in the Francis Howell and Fort Zumwalt school districts. The increase was 805 students in Francis Howell and 650 in Fort Zumwalt.

Carol Ziegler, a spokeswoman for Francis Howell, said the increase to 17,254 students was just about as predicted.

To cope with the growth, the School Board is considering asking voters to authorize a bond issue that does not require a tax increase to retire to pay for completing a middle school in Cottleville, she says. The proposal would be on the April ballot. …

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