Enrollment growing at Farmington schoolsThere are more students in Farmington schools than there were at this time last year, and superintendent Jay Haugen says that growth is likely to continue.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
There are more students in Farmington schools than there were at this time last year, and superintendent Jay Haugen says that growth is likely to continue.
There were 6,764 students enrolled on Oct. 1 this year, up from 6,651 on the same day last year. That number is important for school districts, because it is what the state of Minnesota uses to determine funding for schools.
“If we were a business, these (numbers) would be the heart and soul of our business,” Haugen said.
Business has been growing lately in Farmington, thanks primarily to large numbers of young students. Farmington’s elementary schools had their first class of more than 500 students several years ago, and now that growth is starting to spread up to other levels. The district’s middle schools have a class of 538 sixth graders this year, their first class of more than 500 students.
There is no sign that things will change in the immediate future. With a few exceptions, class sizes get progressively larger as you move from older to younger. This year’s kindergarten class has 574 students, up from 563 a year ago, and there are 428 seniors this year at Farmington High School.
This year’s biggest class is in first grade, where there are 578 students, up from 520 last October.
Farmington schools are slightly more diverse than they were last year. According to a district report, minority students make up 13.6 percent of the district’s Oct. 1 enrollment this year, up from 13.3 percent last year.
Barring any other changes, Haugen expects enrollment at Farmington High School to grow by more than 300 students within six years.
Haugen would like to change a few things, though. His goal since taking over in the district last year has been to make Farmington what he calls the school district of choice. Currently, 90 percent of students who live in the Farmington district attend school here. Haugen would like to see that number increase. He also talked Monday about creating a district that is good enough it makes people want to move into the city.
“We don’t just want to be the school of choice,” Haugen said. “We want to be the go-to community.”
That could create certain challenges. FHS was built for 2,200 students. But Haugen said he is already thinking about more efficient ways to use school space.