District enrollment is steady


September 13, 2017

The state of Sweetwater County School District No. 2 was discussed in a far-reaching presentation Tuesday night.

Superintendent Donna Little-Kaumo said enrollment trends throughout the district have remained stable during the past several years. As of Tuesday, the total number of students enrolled was 2,611, making the district the 10th largest in the state.

Of that group, Little-Kaumo said 17.5 percent are on an individual education plan, 2.2 percent are homeless, 3.2 percent have limited proficiency in English, 13.3 percent are involved in the Title 1 program, 7.2 percent are identified as gifted and 27.9 percent are eligible for free or reduced lunches.

With the homeless statistic, Little-Kaumo said those students don’t fit the traditional definition of living on the street. Instead, Little-Kaumo said those students are typically in situations where they or their parents are living with relatives or are in situations where they don’t have a permanent home.

With special education, Little-Kaumo said parents in surrounding states are starting to look at Wyoming’s programs and are attracted to the 100 percent funding provided for special education, which means districts are seeing higher numbers of students qualifying for special education programs.

One area the district has shrunk is in the number of certified teachers it employs.

Little-Kaumo said the district has 230 teachers working, down from 248 during the 2016-2017 school year and 260 the previous school year.

Little-Kaumo said the district has closed positions and used internal moves to reduce headcount and avoid layoffs.

As a result, the average years of experience within the district has hovered between 13.94 years during the 2013-2014 year and 13.91 last year, with a dip to 13.47 years during the 2015-2016 year. Little-Kaumo said the jump last year correlated to a larger nationwide teacher shortage. Little-Kaumo said some younger teachers end up leaving the profession after an average of five years. However, another problem facing Wyoming specifically is increasing wages found in states neighboring Wyoming. She said larger communities and more services attract younger teachers and suggests the district investigate ways of retaining teachers they already have.


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