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School enrollment plummets

ABHUTCHISON, Sierra Sun

Skyrocketing housing costs may be a major cause in a significant decline in school enrollment in Truckee-Tahoe schools this year.

According to Monty Folsom, Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District Director of Business Services, 86 students have moved outside of the school district since the beginning of school last year – and most have moved to nearby communities where housing and the cost of living is more affordable.

Folsom said records show the majority of these students have moved to areas such as Reno, Grass Valley, Nevada City or Loyalton.

“We’re thinking people are taking their money and running,” Folsom said. “They are finding they can live cheaper somewhere else. That’s concerning us a little bit because this could be a long-term trend.”

Almost every school in the district was down in enrollment from last year, with the most significant declines occurring in Truckee schools. Enrollment at Truckee Elementary School is down considerably: 38 students from this year’s projection and 83 students from last year.

Districtwide, enrollment is currently 4,751 (as of press time Wednesday morning), down 162 students from last year. The district has 60 students less than what school officials had projected for the 2000-01 enrollment.

“We anticipated a drop from last year, but not quite this big,” Folsom said. He said TTUSD will revise the budget based on actual numbers at the end of this week to calculate an adjusted Average Daily Attendance (ADA) projection.

“As to how much of a loss we will have financially, we haven’t calculated that yet,” Folsom said. “We anticipate a loss of approximately just over $150,000; not a large loss.”

This is the first year the district has been able to collect data tracking where students are going when they leave the area.

“We didn’t have a way of tracking it last year. We think this is a trend that has been happening and we didn’t realize it before,” Folsom said. “Normally we get kids moving in to offset the kids moving out.”

Prosser Creek Charter School also reported its numbers were down from last year. Gail Alderson, K-8 Program Director for PCCS, said the charter school enrollment is down approximately 20 percent from what was anticipated for this year.

“It’s pretty much across the board, in all of our programs,” Alderson said. “Some of it is transportation, which we aren’t able to provide. For others, they are just moving out of the area.”

Molly Harrison and her husband, formerly of Truckee, have three children and moved to Nevada City in June after selling their Tahoe Donner home for “a fortune.” In Nevada City they bought a bigger house on three acres of land for less than their selling price. Harrison lived in Truckee for seven years.

“The quality of life was better for us here (in Nevada City),” Harrison said. “It appeared to me it wasn’t going to get better in Truckee, it was going to get worse. Logistically, it seemed to me it was a good time to move down here.”

TTUSD school enrollment numbers by site:

Truckee Elementary – 680 students total; down 38 from projection and 83 from last year.

Glenshire Elementary – 565 students total; down 41 from projection and 17 from last year.

Tahoe Lake Elementary – 219 students total; up 9 from projection and down 25 from last year.

Kings Beach Elementary -502 students total; down 8 from projection and 13 from last year.

Rideout Elementary -161 students total; up 25 from projection and down 3 from last year.

Donner Trail Elementary -60 students total; down 2 from projection and 1 from last year.

North Tahoe Middle School -459 students total; down 2 from projection and 8 from last year.

Sierra Mountain Middle School -698 students total; down 7 from projection and 3 from last year.

North Tahoe High School – 507 students total; up three from projection and down 14 from last year.

Tahoe-Truckee High School – 808 students total; down 26 from projection and 32 from last year.

Sierra High School -48 students total; up 15 from projection and 9 from last year.

Cold Stream Alternative – up 12 from projection and 28 from last year.


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