MODESTO -- Modesto City Schools trustees got an early report on the district's enrollment Monday. School population declined only slightly, comparing the end of last year with the first month of this year.
But overly optimistic projections mean the district will get roughly $900,000 less than expected in revenue this year if the numbers hold.
Becky Meredith, director of planning and facilities support, said growth in early grades caused some scrambling to get more classes in place this year. Elementary schools grew, with more than 900 attending Fairview in southwest Modesto.
About half of Modesto's elementary schools remain in the 300 to 500 range. The district's four junior highs are all in the 700s.
Its seven comprehensive high schools, however, lost students, and the disparity in size grew. Meredith said this year's ninth grade is the smallest in 20 years.
The greatest decline was at Davis High, which has 378 fewer students this year, down to 1,391.
Davis Principal Lynn Lysko said a change of boundaries and intradistrict transfer policies are under discussion. However, she said the school has a full complement of Advanced Placement classes.
"What's nice is our classes are a little smaller," Lysko said.
Davis' low numbers had been far lower than other schools in the Division I Modesto Metro Conference. Davis teams face off against those from Enochs and Modesto, both drawing from close to 2,500 students.
The spread causes concerns for athlete safety and competitive strength, noted the Sac-Joaquin Section, the organization that oversees high school athletics in the region.
Superintendent Pam Able and Meredith have said high school boundaries will be redrawn before 2014-15 to avoid splitting the all-Modesto league.
While Davis shrank, Gregori High gained nearly 500 students as it grew to four full classes, having seniors for the first time.
In other business, the board unanimously approved a 2012-13 contract with its support employees that gives additional furlough days to many.
The California School Employees Association Modesto chapter ratified the deal Thursday. It pencils out to save the district $178,000.
"It wasn't an easy task. It was a long haul, but we came to terms," said CSEA lead negotiator Don Corgiat.
At the suggestion of Trustee Steve Grenbeaux, the board voted to hold off on reviewing a lengthy list of procedures. The vote was 5-1. Amy Neumann objected, saying there were no formal protocols in place.
The board decided to hold a workshop to include appointed board member Stacey Morales, who will be sworn in at today's City Council meeting. Morales attended the meeting Monday but sat in the audience.
Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2339.