When Fremont County School District 25 opened the year with roughly 70 fewer students than it had last fall, Riverton superintendent Terry Snyder hoped the drop in enrollment was only temporary.
Three weeks later, enrollment has improved, but the district is still 30 students shy of the number it had at this time last year.
That's not good news for the district whose declining enrollment led to a higher drop in state funding than most districts faced this year.
Snyder said he's also "discouraged" the announcement of Safeway's impending closure.
"That's not going to help the community, and it's not going to help our enrollment," he said.
The store is a significant private employer.
The district lost 28 students in the last week after the mandatory "10-day drops," which requires schools to remove students from their enrollment after 10 consecutive absences.
A large part of public school funding is guaranteed by the State of Wyoming based on the number of students enrolled in the schools district. More students means more "per student" funding, while fewer students means less.
The issue has bee complicated this year by a statewide funding shortage tied to the decline in Wyoming's minerals industry, particularly coal.