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Initial count shows student enrollment continues to drop on South Whidbey

South Whidbey Elementary School para-educator Denny Keough helps guide Marla Kelly to her class on the first day of school. South Whidbey School District officials said the initial count of student enrollment shows fewer students will be attending South End schools this year. - Brian Kelly / The Record
South Whidbey Elementary School para-educator Denny Keough helps guide Marla Kelly to her class on the first day of school. South Whidbey School District officials said the initial count of student enrollment shows fewer students will be attending South End schools this year.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / The Record

The early numbers are in, and they don’t look good.

Officials with the South Whidbey School District said student counts late last week show enrollment in the district continues to drop.

The latest tally shows about 30 less students than the district had expected.

“Certainly we’re disappointed and concerned, but were going to look at overall enrollment,” said Superintendent Jo Moccia.

Schools reported a total of 1,459 students across the district, but expected 1,488.

That drop pales in comparison to the overall decrease from last year’s total: 89 students.

Even so, if the enrollment estimate holds true until the end of the 2012 school year, it will be the third largest decrease in district enrollment in the past 10 years.

Most of the enrollment drop was at Whidbey Island Academy and Bayview School.

“That’s really where the majority of decrease is,” Moccia said.

“We’re going to be looking at programs and see if we can find out what those decreases are about and see if it’s something we can do, or if the students simply aren’t there.”

The impact to funding was unknown, though Moccia said the district expects more students to enroll in the coming months.

“Right now, it’s too soon to tell,” she said. “Obviously it’s always better to have more (students) than you anticipated.”

There was an increase in kindergarten students at South Whidbey Elementary School, though the overall enrollment was similar to last year’s figure.

Langley Middle School and South Whidbey High School numbers were consistent with the 2010-2011 school year, at about 380 and 510 students, respectively.

The district’s student population has declined every school year since 1999-2000. Then, the district was robust with more than 2,200 students.

The largest decrease of 161 students was from the 2008-2009 to the 2009-2010 school years.

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