School district enrollment numbers increase

Full-time equivalency is up two in Camas, 57 in Washougal

The Washougal School District will be hiring additional staff, including a new kindergarten teacher, due to higher-than-expected enrollment numbers in the primary grades.

After the first week of school, full-time (FTE) enrollment in the district was 2,975, which is 57 more students than projected. Most of the growth was at the kindergarten through second-grade level at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary School. There will be a half-time kindergarten teacher added, and a full-time teacher for a first- and second-grade combination classroom.

“It’s an exciting time,” said Mary Lou Woody, principal.

Enrollment numbers at the high school were also slightly higher than last year.

“There weren’t any big surprises,” said Brian Wallace, district business manager. “We expect enrollment to increase slowly over the next few years. This has been the trend in Washougal the past three years.”

Enrollment last September was 2,887 FTE.

In the Camas School District, it was a challenging year to predict enrollment due to the boundary changes and a new elementary school, said Donna Gregg, business services director.

“I was pleased that the numbers came in on target, but it is always difficult to forecast enrollment, especially in a district that continues to grow,” she said.Gregg forecasted that FTE enrollment would be 5,997. Actual numbers were just two less, at 5,995. Last September’s count was 5,948.

“I always use a conservative model to forecast, gather information for birth rates, talk to the (other) administrators, and analyze our enrollment data from past years,” Gregg said.

Much of the enrollment in any school district depends on housing trends and birthrates, she added.

“Although birthrates have declined in the past five years, residential development continues to increase in the district, and this brings additional families, which increased enrollment,” Gregg said. “As the community continues to grow, it should be reflected in our enrollment.”

The only grade level where enrollment was less than expected was at the 11th grade level, but is most likely due to more students attending programs such as Running Start or the Skills Center.

An additional half-time kindergarten teacher will be hired at Helen Baller Elementary, as the district received a greater number of students at that school than expected.