By Lillian Bowe
Portales schools’ student population has been gradually declining the past four years, but officials said it’s holding steady so far this year.
Wednesday saw 2,816 students on the roster, compared to 2,804 at the end of last year.
Superintendent Johnnie Cain said he is pleased with the overall increase, but pointed out there has been a decrease of students in the elementary schools this year. Cain said he believes the reason for that decrease would be parents moving away to find jobs.
“The economy is a factor in this as Portales does not have a lot of industry and they have to go where there is work,” Cain said.
James Elementary School is down by 10.8 percent, Valencia Elementary by 5.5 percent and Lindsey-Steiner Elementary by 3 percent, according to district coordinator Mike Terry.
Brown Early Childhood enrollment is up 48 students. That’s because it was awarded a New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department grant, which gave the school a new public preschool program.
Portales High School’s numbers are up 6.2 percent from the end of last year and the junior high only lost two students since May.
Overall, Cain said, the numbers are positive and he’s encouraging students of all ages to contact the school to ask about online classes.
Brown Early Childhood Center 342 294
James Elementary 433 480
Valencia Elementary 431 455
Lindsey-Steiner Elementary 396 408
Portales Junior High 424 426
Portales High School 790 741
Source: Portales Municipal Schools