Payson High Enrollment Down From Last Year

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Enrollment at Payson High School is down by 86 students (approximately 9.7 percent) compared to this same time last year, according to Payson Unified School District Associate Superintendent for Business Services Bobbette Sylvester.

Sylvester disclosed the figure at the July 10 meeting of the school board.

Payson Unified School District, and most school districts in Arizona, receives funding based largely on the student enrollment numbers recorded after the first 40 days, and then again after the first 100 days of classes, each academic year.

According to Sylvester, the district receives approximately $3,890 in federal funding per enrolled student each academic year.

Using the 86-student drop in enrollment figure, that could potentially result in an approximate $334,000 loss of funding for the district in 2007-2008.

Casey O'Brien, superintendent of the Payson school board said, "Enrollment numbers are slightly down right now, but I don't think it is a case of students withdrawing and families moving out of the area.

Roy Sandoval, principal at Payson High School said it is too early to tell what enrollment numbers will actually be in the fall.

"Until students actually show up and register and start attending classes, we won't really have a good idea of what our enrollment is," he said.

It will not be until about two weeks into the upcoming academic year that the high school (and consequently the district) will have enough attendance figures recorded to determine what enrollment actually is for 2007-2008.

O'Brien said he is definitely aware of the drop in student enrollment and the district and individual schools are implementing "alternative" programs to try and retain some of the students they may have lost.

"I think some students may be going to alternative school settings, like charter schools, because they offer more flexible schedules and things like online classes," O'Brien said.

Online classes are classes both taught and attended using a computer, rather than a physical classroom and typically do not require students be in a traditional classroom setting.

O'Brien said the Payson Unified School District and Payson High School are also trying to put together alternative choices for students like online classes. He said, "There is a need for more alternative choices for students in the high school and we need to develop these kinds of things more, if we want to retain our students."

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