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Pasco school enrollment reverses decline

LAND O' LAKES - Enrollment in Pasco County schools has grown by more than 500 students compared with the same period last year, the school district reported Tuesday. A 20-day head count for the 2012-13 academic year showed 66,449 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. That's up 563 students from the 20th day last year and reverses a trend from a year ago that saw a decline in enrollment. Charter schools led the growth with 253 more students. Middle schools also saw a substantial uptick, growing by 171 students. Other increases were 20 students for high schools, seven for alternative schools and 125 for other schools and programs, such as virtual schools and juvenile justice programs. The district's 46 elementary schools saw a decline of 13 students countywide.
Enrollment determines how much money school districts receive from the state because funding is based on a per-student formula. School officials are watching enrollment numbers closely as Pasco tries to meet state-mandated class-size restrictions. Last year, the state fined the district $4 million for failing to meet class size but reduced the fine to $1 million based on the district's promise to meet the requirements this year. An official head count for class-size purposes is set for the week of Oct. 8.

rblair@tampatrib.com (813) 371-1853 Twitter: @rblairTrib
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