Study finds Port Angeles enrollment to dip about another 100 students

PORT ANGELES — A demographic study has determined that enrollment will continue to decline at the Port Angeles schools through about 2013, when it will dip to an estimated 4,124.

Port Angeles School District currently has about 4,206 students. At the end of 2007, it had 4,281

“So we’re looking at a loss of about 100 more students,” Superintendent Gary Cohn said.

The study by John Fotheringham and Keith Bigelow of Mount Vernon predicts that the district will rise to an enrollment of 4,217 students in 2018, increase to 4,309 in 2023 and reach 4,326 in 2028.

Since 1970, enrollment has declined by about 750 students, said Fotheringham and Bigelow, former school administrators in Washington state who now conduct demographic studies.

The report confirmed an earlier internal estimate of Mark Jacobson, business and operations director, and another several years ago by Jim Jones, the former business director.

“The good thing about going to an external source is that they have no investment in what the results are,” Cohn said.

“These guys won’t benefit or be hurt either way the enrollment goes.”

The demographers gathered information from about 17 organizations — including other school districts, Olympic Medical Center and the U.S. Census Bureau — so that they could look at as many factors on enrollment as possible.

The estimates were made barring the loss or introduction of any new major employer in town.

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