Not enough desks for first day of school

Not enough desks for first day of school

CHICO,Calif. - It was the first day of school for a lot of Northstate students and in the days of declining to steady enrollment, a Chico school had to scramble to get some extra desks.

"We scrounged some extra desks from other classrooms," said Shasta Elementary School Principal Bruce Besnard. "We got tables so every kid is sitting comfortably today and ready to learn."

Enrollment is climbing at Shasta Elementary and Mrs. Debbie Henry's fifth grade class had to move into the library last year. The administration ordered 60 new desks for this year to meet the growing demand but they have not arrived yet.

"Some people didn't have desks and some people did," said Henry's student, Aubrey Matlock.

"Some kids had to sit at a table and it's really cramped at their tables," said Henry's student, Cameron Dressler.

The desks once in Henry's classroom had to be given to older students this year. Although more students are coming to Shasta elementary the rest of the Chico Unified School District said they are seeing student enrollment declining.

"If you look over the last 10 years, we've been trending a loss of 150 students a year," said CUSD assistant superintendent of business services, Kevin Bultema.

District officials said this past year -- enrollment and attendance numbers took their biggest hit in six years.

Bultema said the struggling economy and the opening of new charter schools in Chico are to blame.

"We are hopeful that they are going to higher. That we are going to see more enrollments," he said. "There is some information coming from the sites that we might have a few more students, but it's still too early to tell."

CUSD said they receive $6,000 a year in funding for each of the 12,500 students enrolled. The final number for this year's enrollment will be available in a few weeks.

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