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School Snapshot - Enrollment Trend Heading Upward?
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If numbers are any indication, the early turnout bodes well for the Escalon Unified School District.

Superintendent Ron Costa said the numbers for two days of kindergarten registration, March 15 and 16 in the district, show more students being registered than during the same two-day period last year. Registration was done at all elementary schools, Dent, Collegeville, Farmington and Van Allen.

Costa said 147 kindergarten students were signed up last year, while this year there were 159 for traditional kindergarten and another 10 registered for the transitional kindergarten, in case it is offered through the district. The figures, whether it is for regular kindergarten or combined with transitional K, represents a solid gain in students for the start of the 2012-2013 school year.

Opening day for 2011-2012 saw more than 200 students in kindergarten throughout the district and Costa said officials will see the current 159 number rise as people register their children over the next several weeks. The two-day registration effort is offered as a way of getting all the paperwork done early, though Costa said many residents and those just moving in to the district will come in intermittently, up until the start of the new school year.

"You always do get more after that first registration day," Costa said.

What remains to be seen is if the trend of more students registering continues or if it levels off and the district ends up with roughly the same number of kindergarten students. Also still to be determined is whether the 10 signed up for transitional kindergarten will have a class to attend.

"If the state says to do it, we'll do it," Costa said of offering the program to those students who fall just short of the age requirement for traditional kindergarten and would benefit from the year of transitional K. The district is looking to make sure the funding from the state is also in place, however.

Meanwhile, Costa said the district is continuing to look at budgeting issues and has sent out eight certificated pink slips to employees whose jobs could potentially be cut based on the budgeting for next year.

"The teachers have already been notified, the classified staff has to be done by the middle of April," Costa explained.

A final decision on how many of those certificated and classified employees given provisional pink slips will actually lose their jobs doesn't come until May, after the budget is adopted. Costa said they are hoping to pull back the bulk of the pink slips, with the goal to keep all employees on staff.

Also, the district is looking into a rash of break-ins and burglaries at the Yosemite Avenue campus of Dent Elementary, and Costa asked neighbors in the area to be alert to any unusual activity and contact police if they see anything suspicious.

Officers responded twice to the location during the past week, with several rooms broken into and items reported missing. In one case, blood spatters were found where the thief or thieves broke in through a window, perhaps cutting themselves in the process.