Alma School District is holding steady on enrollment this year, said the district superintendent.
After several years of declining enrollment, Alma Superintendent David Woolly hopes this year may be an indicator that the decline has slowed or stopped, he said.
"According to yesterday’s enrollment we’re only down two, instead of being down 50 or 75 as we have been in past years," Woolly said Friday. "One time does not make a trend … but for now, that’s very good news."
For about 50 years, Alma School District has traditionally counted their official enrollment number on the Friday after Labor Day. Enrollment has been declining each year since 2010.
At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, the district’s numbers were 96 less than the previous year. Last year, the district saw a loss of only 49 students.
Enrollment numbers affect funding for a school district, and Alma had taken a hit in funding since the decline began. Woolly recently commended staff and personnel on their efforts to stem spending and keep to a tighter budget.
Woolly discussed enrollment during the regular monthly meeting of the Alma School Board on Thursday night, he said. Also discussed was a recent water heater leak.
A large, industrial water heater sprang a leak this month, soaking a portion of the wood floor in the district’s safe room, which also serves as a gymnasium. The accident is covered by the school’s insurance, he said.
Rather than springing a small, slow leak, something in the heater "came apart" and water gushed out, Woolly said.
"Fortunately it happened in the middle of the day," Woolly said. "If it had happened at night…we’d have a much bigger problem on our hands."
About one-third of the gymnasium floor is being replaced, Woolly said.
Because of a conflict with Homecoming, the next regular board meeting was moved from Oct. 8 to Tuesday, Oct. 6.