Penn-Trafford not alone in dropping enrollment
By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Published: Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Enrollment in Penn-Trafford School District is decreasing, a trend that is expected to continue during the new school year, officials said at a school board meeting on Monday.
The state Department of Education recently released enrollment figures from the 2012-13 school year, school board president P. Jay Tray said.
Enrollment figures are dropping across Westmoreland County, Tray said.
“It has stimulated a lot of discussion,” he said.
About 4,100 students were enrolled on the third day of the last school year, a standard Department of Education measure. That amounts to a decrease of about 50 students, Tray said.
“We dropped below (Greater) Latrobe (School District) based on third-day enrollment figures of last year,” Tray said.
Kiski Area School District ranks just below Penn-Trafford with 3,900 students. Nearby Franklin Regional School District houses about 3,640 students, he said.
Locally, only Norwin School District is growing. Norwin is based in North Huntingdon, where more than 1,000 new homes have been built during the past decade, and the population has increased by about 1,500 between 2000 and 2010.
“Norwin's the anomaly,” Tray said. “All the rest of us have been going (on) a decline for 10 years. We're not as bad as others.”
Penn-Trafford expects to welcome about 4,069 students this school year, interim Superintendent Matthew Harris said.
Enrollment determines the size of a high school, offerings of Advanced Placement courses and delegation of business services, Tray said.
In athletics, Penn-Trafford is a Quad-A school, a ranking based upon 10th- through 12th-grade enrollment.
“We're far from being Triple-A,” high school principal Scott Inglese said.
In other business:
The district will team up with Westmoreland Community Federal Credit Union to offer banking for high schoolers at school during lunch this fall, Inglese said.
Students will work as tellers. The program ties into the district's business curriculum.
“It's a great joint venture,” Inglese said. “It'll be a nice way for kids in the school to set up accounts and get some personal finance under their belts.”
Students may begin participating in the ninth grade, he said.
“It's the real deal,” he said. “It's a real good learning experience for the kids.”
Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646.
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