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Montana News

Nov 16, 2013 12:43 PM by Cody Proctor (cody@krtv.com)

Geyser school enrollment jumps 20%

GEYSER - For more than 100 years, the changing number in Geyser Public Schools' graduating class has been a bit of a roller coaster.

Superintendent Dale Bernard says, "You might have a graduating class of ten and then the next year a class of two. Like last year a class of one and then this year a class of six. So you get those fluctuations."

But the district experienced another recent fluctuation: a big student population increase.

Bernard says last year, there were 51 students; this year, it has jumped 20% to 62 students.

Bernard says it's due to a few things.

A new family moved into the community and for a town of around 500 residents, that makes a big difference.

Also, students from surrounding areas are choosing to go there instead.

But another reason ended up costing the district a few thousand dollars.

Bernard said, "We have been doing some advertising, radio, television, direct mail. Just trying to get our school's name out there."

Bernard says it's too soon to know yet if students came as a direct result of advertising or by word-of-mouth: "Choosing an educational institution is not a knee-jerk reaction for people. It takes time to make a decision so we understand that it's not...you don't see an instant return on that investment."

But he does say the additional students bring additional federal money; the school receives approximately $5,000 for each K-6 student, and around $6,500 for each student in grades 7-12.

And since the new students are spread through out from kindergarten to 10th grade, there's no sudden increase in one age group.

Bernard said, "It's kind of nice to have that number of kids where you can do pretty much anything you want to do and you've got enough, but you're not overcrowded."

And for this small rural school the growth is a welcome change, and one they hope will continue.

ONLINE: Geyser Community blog; Facebook page

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