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Early enrollment shows Farmington middle school imbalance

Farmington administrators budgeted for 2,105 students at Farmington High School this year and 2,145 students showed up the first day of school. Superintendent Jay Haugen said there will be no need for a future second high school because the large building is designed like a college campus to accommodate flexible learning. Kara Hildreth / contributor

Each year school administrators predict and budget for growing or changing fall student enrollment that show up at each school building on the first day of school.

District Superintendent Jay Haugen shared an early student body fall enrollment update with Farmington School Board at the Monday, Sept. 11, regular board meeting.

Haugen shared a breakdown on the total enrollment from five elementary buildings, two middle schools and Farmington High School, along with students who attend Gateway Academy.

"I did get to poke my head in at ... classroom spaces and you get a really cool sense about the year and every year is different, every classroom is different, every child is different and every school year is different," Haugen said. "People were happy — happiness was kind of the word for anyone who was in the buildings and it was a really happy, good start to the school year."

The fall early student body enrollment breakdown is compared to last year from each Farmington school within Independent School District 192.

Enrollment breakdown

Last year at Akin Road Elementary, administrators predicted 640 students would be attending. The district budgeted for 640 students and early enrollment numbers report 634 students showed up the first day of school.

Enrollment at Farmington Elementary was 604 students last year. This year administrators forecasted 602 students. Student numbers came in at 586, 16 less than the district budgeted for this school year.

"It is not uncommon for schools to be off in one direction or another," Haugen said.

Last year Meadowview Elementary educated 699 students and this year the school planned for 676 students. The enrollment came in at 697 total students.

"So that kind of made up more for the last two schools being under," Haugen said. "If you see a trend here, it is we have smaller kindergarten classes here now, and it is just the number of kids who are born in certain years and so we end up predicting smaller sizes at every one of our elementary schools because of that."

Last year North Trail Elementary student population was 586 and the budget allowed for 584 students this school year. The total student population came in at 580.

Last year's enrollment at Riverview Elementary was 810, and this year administrators predicted and estimated a student body of 792. The total number reported comes in at 784 students.

Middle school numbers

Last year Boeckman Middle School educated 899 students. This year the administrators estimated and planned for 925 students, but the numbers came in higher at 952 students who are enrolled in grades 6-8.

Last year Dodge Middle School had 782 students and this year administrators budgeted for 766 students. The total student body so far is 749 students.

"We talked about how there seems to be a new imbalance that seems to be happening pretty quickly between our middle schools," Haugen said. "That is a difference of 200 students and it really wasn't planned to be that way. It is just where people are moving to and where kids and families are moving to with kids that age."

In the near future, Haugen said there will be a presentation about enrollment changes and growth predictions, along with discussion on what is happening with future enrollment in Farmington schools.

Last year Farmington High School educated 2,052 students in grades 9-12. This year, staff predicted and budgeted for 2,105 students. Early enrollment numbers come in at 2,145 students who showed up for high school classes.

"We are getting to be or we are one of the larger high schools in the state so it is exciting to see," Haugen said.

The middle school program Gateway Academy budgeted for 49 students and reported 36 students on the first day of school.

"Our elementary schools are down from last year by about 70 students across the board but we are only down about 13 students from where building administrators and district leadership predicted," Haugen said. "The reason we keep track so much is for staffing that we use and we kind of predict staffing in each building, and we came in at 24 from what we had budgeted for the year and it is really important and not uncommon that we will lose 25 to 30 students by the Oct. 1 when the student count comes around."

Farmington High capacity

Board member Melissa Sauser asked what Farmington High School was designed to accommodate in regard to student body size.

The superintendent said in the past he was told the high school was designed with extra spaces in the school to accommodate up to 2,400 students. Haugen said he believes the building can handle more students by allowing staff to get out of classrooms during their prep periods and work in those spaces across the school building.

Without doing that, Haugen said Farmington High School may see space or student crowding or crunch issues.

A couple years ago, Haugen said he heard assistant principal Lowell Miller share his thoughts about how high school teaching would evolve in years to come.

"He said he thinks we could have 3,000 or 3,500 kids because we do not think about just getting our kids in these classrooms with kids moving, but we think about the whole building being like a college campus and being more flexible," Haugen explained. "This is a gift to our community that we don't have to think about building an additional high school or a very expensive space because we use it with the way we schedule and the way we use more of the day and more of the year as the future unfolds."

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