Back to school

Aug 23, 2017 By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff Writer

Fremont County School District 25's enrollment Tuesday was down 70 students district-wide compared to the start of school in 2016. Tuesday was the first day of school.

Riverton superintendent Terry Snyder said he thought the significant decline might be accounted for by missing students who will eventually show up after Labor Day.

"I hope that number doesn't hold," he said. "If it does hold, it will be a hard year as far as planning for the future."

A significant portion the district's funding is derived its "average daily membership," and a continuing slide in enrollment probably would lead to more budget cuts next year.

The district faced a similar drop in enrollment at the start of school in 2016, which, along with statewide funding cuts, ended up leading to layoffs and attrition of teachers last spring.

Lander schools faced a far different financial circumstance, when its enrollment increase of nearly 100 students meant the district was able to absorb most of the Legislature's cuts through a decrease in line-item spending.

One Riverton school that wasn't suffering from a lack of students Tuesday was the Aspen Early Learning Center, which had at least a 30 percent increase in enrollment.

The glut of parents who were dropping off and picking up students at the kindergarten-only school led to a lengthy backup of traffic on Sunset Drive.

Snyder said those traffic delays are likely to decrease in coming days as more students start riding the bus and as parents become accustomed to the kindergarten pick-up procedure.

On Tuesday, Snyder said, "very few" kindergarteners actually rode the bus.