Early figures show GCHS enrollment on the rise

10/4/2012

By RACHAEL GRAY

By RACHAEL GRAY

rgray@gctelegram.com

According to unofficial enrollment numbers, enrollment appears to be up this fall at the new Garden City High School.

Unofficial enrollment numbers counted on Sept. 20, which were given to the Kansas State High School Activities Association for purposes of determining classification, has the GCHS student population at 2,032. That's an increase of 78 students from the official 2011-12 enrollment of 1,954.

The Sept. 20 numbers are preliminary, not audited and may not even be accurate, according to USD 457 officials.

Rick Atha, superintendent, said the district will have more accurate numbers later this month. And even those numbers won't be official until a statewide audit in February.

"Looking at preliminary numbers, it appears the high school has grown a little bit. But this number is a preliminary number, pending the official audit that takes place in February," he said.

The district-wide numbers will determine how much state aid is allotted to the school district. While a portion of the district's budget comes from property taxes, the bulk comes from dollars administered and distributed by the Kansas State Department of Education from various funds, the largest of which is general state aid.

State aid for school districts is distributed based upon a full-time equivalency formula. For example, a kindergarten pupil is counted as 0.5 in the formula while other students are counted as 1.0. Some high school seniors may be counted as less than 1.0 because they may not carry a full course load, the result of already having finished or nearly finished the credits required for graduation.

James Mireles, GCHS principal, said the community support allowed the new high school to be possible.

School and district officials have said that the school was built to accommodate 2,000 students, with the option to expand to accommodate 2,500.

"When we built this high school, we were trying to separate one of the largest high schools in Kansas into four different academies. I want to thank the community for doing that," Mireles said.

Mireles said he did not want to comment on the numbers reported to KSHAA because they are unofficial and preliminary.

According to the enrollment numbers provided to KSHAA, GCHS is the fifth largest school in the state, behind only Olathe East (2,087), Olathe North (2,068), Wichita East (2,276) and Wichita North (2,050). According to past enrollment, Garden City had been increasing in enrollment for the district for the past three years. District officials will wait on official counts before releasing overall district enrollment for the 2012-13 school year.

Last school year, enrollment increased 59 students in the district. In September 2010, 7,549 students were counted, and in 2011, the number was 7,608.

For the 2009-10 school year, the district's count was 7,461.

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