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RCW officials studying enrollment projections for next school year

RENVILLE -- The Renville County West School Board is working on refining enrollment projections for next year.

It's the beginning the budget planning for the 2010-11 school year, said Superintendent Lance Bagstad.

The district built its budget for this year on an estimate of 501 students. Midway through the year, it has an average daily enrollment of 535 students. Since state aid is based on student numbers, enrollment is an important part of building budget projections.

Bagstad said that he expects enrollment to continue to drop as spring approaches. The district starts the year with migrant farm families that move on during the year and sometimes don't return in the spring before school ends.

Bagstad said the board asked him to continue to research enrollment projections. If the district can confidently project enrollment to stay above the 501-student level for another year, he said, it could avoid large budget cuts in the spring.

If enrollment stays up, the district will be making "adjustments to programs" instead of huge cuts. Major budget cuts have been made in recent years, including closing two of the district's three buildings.

A group of alumni spoke with the board about working with the district to have more open gym time on weekends.

Bagstad said the board was interested in developing a plan to open the fitness center and gym more often for the public. The hours were reduced in recent years as the district cut back on staff.

"We have a pretty decent facility that needs to be open," he said.

In its annual reorganization, the board re-elected its officers: Darin Bratsch, chairman; Eric Dahlager, vice chairman; Rick Marks, clerk; and David Hamre, treasurer.

The board also voted to add RCW's application to the federal Race to the Top program.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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