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NEBO SCHOOL DISTRICT REPORTS MORE GROWTH THAN EXPECTED - BUT NOT TOO MUCH TO HANDLE

Though exact figures aren't yet available, Nebo School District officials say they're experiencing more growth than expected in enrollments - but not more than they can handle.

According to Larry Kimball, Nebo's director of secondary education, enrollments in the district's elementary and secondary schools appear to be up for this school year, which began in late August. However, he and other officials won't have those audited figures until October."We've obviously had a lot of people moving into the district (the boundaries of which include Spanish Fork, Springville and Payson, among other south county cities)," said Kimball. "But it's not alarming yet. It's just not heavy enough."

Most of those south county communities have seen increases in the numbers of new homes being built, but so far, those families haven't been overcrowding the district's schools, he said.

"I guess the trend is going toward smaller families," Kimball said. "Either that, or they may be young couples who haven't had children yet."

At more than 30 students per instructor, Nebo has some of the most crowded classes in the state, which itself has some of the country's largest class loads. Kimball said the district has been performing enrollment studies and carefully checking predictions against audited enrollment figures to perform growth estimates.

"We keep expecting the worst, but we've been able to keep up with it by tracking enrollments," he said.

For its studies, the district typically expects enrollments to be as heavy as years previous and figures in a 1 percent to 2 percent growth factor - growth that would typically be expected in thriving small communities.

Nebo also compares its estimates to the audited figures - from which the state calculates the weighted pupil unit and allocates funding to the schools accordingly - and officials are always trying to find growth trends, Kimball said.

Sometimes the trends are hard to spot, though, Kimball said. In fact, two years ago, the district experienced enrollment losses during its first and second terms, as compared to large growth the year before.

By the third term, enrollments increased by as much as 5 percent, catching Nebo officials unexpectedly. They were able to compensate, however, Kimball said.

"We had two total reversals within a year," he said. "While it kind of threw us for a loop, it wasn't significant enough that we weren't able to handle it."