Numbers are up slightly – and the 2015-16 school year is officially under way in the Escalon Unified School District.
“I think we had we had a very smooth opening to school,” EUSD Superintendent Ron Costa said following the first day on Wednesday, Aug. 12. “Our student numbers are up 20 students from the same time last year.”
The number tends to fluctuate daily over the first few weeks, and Costa said the attendance rolls as of Monday, Aug. 17 numbered 2,869 students enrolled.
“A very interesting number, we have 266 kindergartners, that’s a pretty big class,” Costa said. He noted that 42 of those are transitional kindergarten students, but it is still a larger number than they have seen in the past few years.
“We added a kindergarten teacher before school started, Dent went up from five to six,” Costa explained. “We are able to have five kindergarten classes and one dedicated transitional kindergarten class there.”
One drawback in the first few weeks will be transportation issues along First Street, near El Portal Middle School, where a major reconstruction project is ongoing. Storm drain inlet replacement, curb, gutter and sidewalk work and repaving of the road surface is being done and originally, the work was supposed to be completed by mid-August. It has gone past that date and City Manager Tammy Alcantor announced at Monday night’s council meeting that the new projected completion date for the work is Sept. 15.
“I think it is slowing our transportation down a little bit but we were able to make it work,” Costa said of the unexpected roadwork delay. “It will extend some routes, some kids will get home a little later because of the detours, but we are looking at that being completed in about three weeks.”
Otherwise, he said, “everything is running normally” so far to start off the year.
Escalon High School has the highest enrollment, at 847 students. Vista High has 41 students enrolled. El Portal Middle School has 603, with 624 at Dent Elementary.
For the outlying rural elementary schools, Van Allen lists an enrollment of 359, Collegeville has 107 students and Farmington is at 88 enrolled.
“Our Charter School enrollment is 196, we have six kids at the high school level, the home school side of our charter goes up through 12th grade,” Costa explained.
District sites that host Charter classes include Dent, Collegeville and El Portal.
Upcoming for some schools are Back-to-School Nights, with Collegeville gathering last night (Tuesday, Aug. 18) for the annual session and the Escalon High School event set for this evening, Wednesday, Aug. 19. El Portal Middle School will host its event on Thursday, Aug. 20.
“First minimum day will be Wednesday, Aug. 26, that will give our teachers a chance to collaborate and have staff development,” said Costa. “That will be 90 minutes shorter (for students) than a regular day.”
Still in process, Costa added, is completing a fencing project at Dent Elementary, which already has gone through the Department of State Architecture review, as required for schools.
“Two other projects are the high school band room needs a new roof, we are drawing up plans now for a new roof there and the Collegeville water system is failing, we need to re-do that water system,” said Costa.