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Auburn school enrollment up slightly

AUBURN — Auburn has 55 more students this October compared to last October.

That’s not a lot compared to Lewiston, which typically gets about 100 more students every year.

But 55 more students is notable, considering that Maine is a state that has more deaths than births, and statewide student enrollment has shrunk.

Auburn has 3,630 students compared to last fall’s 3,575, Superintendent Katy Grondin told the School Committee on Wednesday night.

It’s always good news to have an increase rather than a decrease, she said, because more students will mean more state dollars for education next year.

And the increase is in spite of 32 Auburn students leaving to attend the new Acadia Academy charter school that opened in September in Lewiston.

There are 64 Auburn students attending charter schools.

Sherwood Heights Elementary had the biggest enrollment gain with 35 more students. Its student population is 422.

“That’s quite an influx,” Grondin said.

Part of the reason for the jump is another prekindergarten class.

The school with the biggest decrease in enrollment is Walton Elementary, with 21 fewer students.

That’s a bit of a concern, Grondin said. In 2011, there were 303 students; now there are 234.

Edward Little High School’s enrollment is up 30, to 1,031. Franklin School numbers are 68, consistent with last year.

Auburn Middle School’s population went down by 14, to 535.

The other elementary schools had gains: East Auburn Community, 3; Fairview, 19; Park Avenue, 8; and Washburn, 14.

Washburn’s enrollment is 262.

“Washburn used to be smaller than Walton,” Grondin said. “Now it’s larger.” 

Looking at special education students, Auburn has 652, 25 more than last year.

English language learner students number 199, six more than last year.

Student-to-teacher ratios at elementary schools were Park Avenue and East Auburn, 21-to-1; Fairview, 22-to-1; Sherwood and Washburn, 20-to-1; and Walton, 17-to-1.

Class sizes make a difference when parents are granted or denied permission for children to go to a school outside their neighborhoods, Grondin said.

Principals try to be flexible and work with families, Grondin said.

“This year, several families were denied,” she said. “That doesn’t make people happy.”

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