Early Numbers Show School Enrollment Decrease

The Derry School Board is looking at an enrollment drop of about 109 students for 2013-14, although both Superintendent Laura Nelson and board chairman Brenda Willis warn that they won’t know the final number till Aug. 26.

Nelson presented an enrollment update at the Aug. 13 school board meeting. The numbers as of the meeting, and their corresponding numbers from opening day last year, are as follows:

• Gilbert H. Hood Middle School, 715 for 2013-14, 728 for 2012.
• West Running Brook Middle School, 567, 2013-14, 555, 2012.
• East Derry Memorial Elementary School, 408, 2013-14, 418, 2012.
• Derry Village Elementary School, 426, 2013-14, 470, 2012.
• Ernest P. Barka Elementary School, 603, 2013-14, 614, 2012.
• Grinnell Elementary School, 361, 2013-14, 385, 2012.
• South Range Elementary School, 361, 2013-14, 380, 2012.

So far this year, West Running Brook is the only school showing an increase in enrollment, Nelson said.
The total enrollment for the elementary schools is 2,159, down 108 students from last year’s 2,267. Total enrollment for the middle schools is 1,282, down one student from 2012’s 1,283. The total enrollment so far, Kindergarten-Grade 8, is 3,441, down 109 from last year’s 3,550.

Nelson emphasized that it was an estimated decrease, and that the 2013-14 figures were as of the board meeting, compared with opening day from 2012. She also reviewed the enrollment projections from the New Hampshire School Administrators’ Association. Taking a three-year average, the projected enrollment for K-5 is 2,161, and the enrollment as of Aug. 13 was 2,159.

The projected enrollment for middle schools was 1,269, and as of Aug. 13 it was 1,282.
Willis noted that children could still move in to the district between now and Aug. 26. “I am uncomfortable with comparisons at this point,” she said.