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Mitchell School District’s enrollment continues to increase

Mitchell School District’s enrollment continues to steadily grow.

With the district’s annual “count day” still two-and-a-half weeks away, there are no official enrollment numbers available, but Superintendent Joseph Graves said Tuesday the enrollment for K-12 is projected to be very similar to last year.

For the 2015-16 school year, Graves said enrollment was 2,785, which is 38 students more than the 2014-15 school year with 2,747.

Graves said there will not be an official total for the year until “count day,” scheduled for Sept. 30.

Over the past eight years, Graves said the school district has been “experiencing some rather steady growth.” During the 2008-09 school year, the district hit a recent low of 2,433 students, according to the district report card.

“We’ve been growing pretty steadily since that time,” Graves said. “But what we have always suspected was that growth was due in part to a slight increase, about 1 percent a year, in population of Mitchell, but also because of something that’s called ‘the echo of the echo of the baby boom.’ ”

The children of the baby boom, Graves said, had children and now that particular generation is starting to attend school. This has increased the amount of students attending elementary school, which is at an all-time high for the Mitchell School District, Graves said.

Even with the increase of elementary students, Graves said there are no plans for adding extra buildings. When building Longfellow Elementary, Graves said it was constructed to also house Second Chance High and a few other programs, knowing that if there was an increase in students, those programs could be moved.

This plan, Graves said, has paid off. Second Chance High has since moved to another location, allowing for extra room within Longfellow Elementary for students.

“We went from Longfellow for as low as 220 students to about 380 students,” Graves said. “That’s a very significant increase.”

But the steady increase may not last much longer. As this generation moves up in grade levels in the district, the enrollment numbers may level off or drop again, Graves said.

The number of people per household is also slightly declining, Graves said, and eventually this could have an effect on enrollment rates as well as years go by.

K-12 enrollment numbers for the 2015-16 school year, along with other demographics of the Mitchell school district, will be available in the district report card, which will be published later this year.