Not one of Wallowa County’s four school districts has fewer students this year than last year.
Enrollment is up from 2017-18 in the Enterprise, Joseph and Wallowa school districts and unchanged in the Troy School District.
Leading the enrollment charge is the Joseph School District, which has 257 students, up 26 from last year.
Joseph School District Superintendent Lance Homan credits much of the 10 percent increase to a large kindergarten class of 24 students, which replaced a small graduating senior class of about 12 students.
Homan said this year’s enrollment increase was spread evenly throughout the district’s grades.
The total includes seven students at the district’s Imnaha School, which is for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Homan said this is the highest enrollment Imnaha School has had since he became superintendent in 2015.
Imnaha students are among 181 students the Joseph School District has in kindergarten through eighth grade. The district has 76 students in grades nine to 12.
Homan said the enrollment increase is mostly due to more people moving into the community.
“We have a lot of new families and new young faces,” he said. “We are excited to have them.”
The Wallowa School District is reporting a 4 percent enrollment increase. The school district has 181 students, eight more than in 2017-18, said first-year Superintendent Jay Hummel. The district’s 2018-19 budget was built by the previous superintendent, Bret Uptmor, on the assumption the school district would have 173 students, Hummel said. He said Uptmor, now the superintendent of the Grant School District in Grant County, built spending plans with caution.
“He budgeted conservatively,” said Hummel, a veteran educator who came to Wallowa from Emmett, Idaho.
The enrollment increase is good news for Wallowa, since schools districts receive about $7,000 from the state per student.
“(The enrollment increase) will definitely bolster our budget,” Hummel said.
Enrollment in the Enterprise School District is up 2 percent from 2017-18. Enterprise now has 427 students, 11 more than the previous school year.
Enterprise has 214 students in elementary school, 63 in grades seven and eight, and 150 in grades nine to 12. This year, enrollment at Enterprise’s high school is up 17 students.
See more in Friday's edition of The Observer.