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Enrollment numbers remain stable

Despite dropping seven students since last year on the first day of classes, Kenmare’s public school enrollment remains stable and above the 300 mark.

8/30/16 (Tue)

Honoring our veterans... During halftime of the Kenmare-Tioga high school football game Friday, area military veterans who were in attendance, were recognized on the field. It's one of many activities that will be held for students and parents this school year.

By Marvin Baker

Despite dropping seven students since last year on the first day of classes, Kenmare’s public school enrollment remains stable  and above the 300 mark.

Total enrollment on Wednesday was 309 in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade, down from 316 a year ago, which was a peak in recent years.

This year’s enrollment lines up with the 2014-15 school year when 312 students enrolled on the first day and is the fourth consecutive year that numbers have eclipsed the 300 mark, hitting at exactly 300 on opening day 2013.

According to high school principal Sarah Beckedahl, there were a few students expected who weren’t in school on Wednesday, however, some late registrations stabilized the overall number.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is in the first grade where 39 children were listed on the first-day roster. That’s the highest number of students in any class in Kenmare since the junior class of 2001 had 40 on opening day.

The first-grade number also represents a net increase of three students from last year’s Kindergarten class, which is now the first grade.

Kenmare’s numbers had been on a steady decline, with fewer than 300 students in all grades starting in 2003 and ending in 2012.

In that 10-year span, the low point was in 2005 and again in 2007 when 272 students were on the roster on the first day of classes.

Also during that decade, two classes, the fifth grade in 2005 and the fifth grade in 2008, had 14 and 12 students, respectively. The 2003 Kindergarten class also dipped to a roster of 12 and that year, the total number of students was 294, one more than in 2012.

Since hitting the 300 mark in 2013, there had been a gradual increase since 2009 when 274 students enrolled on the first day.

One of the other key things to look at regarding enrollment statistics this year is in the stability of each class.

In grades seven through 12, there’s a separation of only five students per class, the seventh grade has 24 students and the ninth and 11th grades have 19 each.

Other than the fifth grade, all the elementary numbers are tied or higher than any of the upper classes.

As an example, 14 students are in the fifth grade and 24 are in Kindergarten. Otherwise, the numbers are in the high 20s or 30s.

Wednesday’s number also represents an increase of 37 students since 2007 and an increase of 44 from 2007 to last year.

In 2001, 347 students attended Kenmare Public School, dropping significantly to 314 in 2002 and again to 294 in 2003, a drop of 53 students in just two years.

Now, enrollment appears to be going the opposite direction. Although the numbers are more subtle than they were in the early 2000’s, there is a net increase this year of 16 kids in the past five years.

That pleases Kenmare Superintendent Duane Mueller who pointed out enrollment numbers should remain above 300 in the foreseeable future since all elementary grades, other than fifth, have representative numbers of the past 15 years.

Kenmare’s numbers are nearly identical to Burlington, Ellendale and Enderlin, Burlington which has seen growth and has stabilized and Ellendale and Enderlin, which both continue a slow decline... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!