Garfield Re-2 bucks state trends: Student enrollment up nearly 3%
Garfield Re-2 School District student enrollment continues to increase, despite the State seeing the lowest overall PK-12 enrollment levels since 2013.
The District added 124 students or 2.66% over last year, continuing a steady increase in students following the 2020-21 low of 4,526 as the nation emerged from COVID restrictions and online learning. According to the Colorado Department of Education, Garfield Re-2 is one of 65 Districts reporting flat or increased student enrollment.
According to the Colorado Department of Education, for the second straight year student enrollment in Colorado’s public schools declined with the 2023-24 school year PK-12 student enrollment dipping to 881,464 - 1,800 fewer than in October 2022, a 0.20% decrease.
Both Coal Ridge and Rifle High Schools saw substantial increases in student enrollment up 98.5 and 49 students year-over-year respectively. Additionally, the Colorado Universal Preschool program has resulted in 40 more preschoolers in the District.
Balancing these increases are slight decreases in other Garfield Re-2 schools bringing the overall student enrollment to 4,786.
“It’s always better to be on the positive side of student growth,” said Garfield Re-2 Superintendent Heather Grumley. “Two-and-a-half to three percent growth is a nice, steady rate to grow at. We certainly have been feeling the pressure points that are revealed through this state data.”
Colorado is one of 13 states that calculate student enrollment on a single count date model. Student count is calculated in a window during the first week of October. Funding for school districts is directly tied to student count. For the 2023-24 school year, Garfield Re-2 receives $10,242.01 per K - 12 student. The Universal Preschool program funds preschool students to a similar level, through a different calculation. The per-pupil funding for Garfield Re-2 students ranks 166th out of 178 Colorado School Districts.
Garfield Re-2 is gearing up for budget conversations with school and District leaders, taking a close look at staffing levels compared to student numbers.
“These are always good conversations with our leaders,” added Grumley. “We are always trying to strike the right balance of teachers and support staff to meet the needs of the students within the building.”