Unexpected out-migration of residents and declining enrollments have prompted the Granite Board of Education to delay for one year plans to put three elementary schools on year-round schedules.
The board Tuesday night approved an administrative recommendation to postpone plans to put Lake Ridge, Orchard and West Kearns elementary schools on year-round sessions."We would like to hold them for one year so we can check with the different neighborhoods and get a feel" for just how many students will be entering school, said Darrell Johnson, director of the southern Granite District area.
The district apparently again is experiencing a decline in students attending schools after rapid growth in the early part of the decade. A similar decline occurred in the mid-1970s.
More than 3 percent of students who attended school in the 1987-88 school year left the district this academic year, said Kent Gardner, director of information services.
District officials expect a continued enrollment decline in the next five years, Gardner said, but "don't know how severe that loss might be."
Nearly 76,000 students are enrolled in the Granite District this year, he said. "But by the fall of 1993, we might be looking at an overall decline in our enrollment."
The areas that notched the highest growth rates now are seeing populations decline, the officials said, as more residents move because of economic conditions in the state.
Preliminary projections are 3,712 fewer students will attend Granite District elementary schools in 1993 than now are enrolled. But during the same time, nearly 3,500 more students will be enrolled in junior high and almost 2,000 more will attend senior high as children progress in school.
Enrollments went from an estimated annual 8 percent growth rate to a 15 percent drop in one year, Johnson said. "So it's been a very rapid loss. One that has not been anticipated."
"Based on Salt Lake County birth data," Gardner told board members, "it appears that the size of our kindergarten classes districtwide will decline by 2 percent per year" in the projected five-year period.
"In the schools with the most significant growth in the last eight to 10 years, we have had the most significant turnarounds and the most significant out-migration," he said.
"It looks to us there's been a real turnaround in these neighborhoods. We don't know if it's temporary or permanent."