August 20, 2004
Although summer isn’t officially over until late September, it has ended for most schoolchildren in the Pikes Peak region. The 65 schools in sprawling Colorado Springs District 11 ring the back-to-school bell today. Other local districts starting today include Calhan, Edison, Hanover and Lewis-Palmer. Falcon School District had the earliest start, Aug. 5, and the region’s final start date is Aug. 26 in Manitou Springs. When the back-to-school surge concludes, about 103,000 youngsters will be enrolled in El Paso and Teller county schools. Some districts are reporting larger student populations this year than last, and students still are enrolling. Doug Peden, executive director of human resources for the Falcon district, said enrollment figures have increased 12.2 percent from October 2003. “We went up another 17 (on Tuesday),” he said. “It’s never-ending.” Academy District 20 had a 3.8 percent increase from last October, spokeswoman Nanette Anderson said. Starting before Labor Day helps schools accommodate a state law that requires students to be in school at least 160 days. It also allows added days for bad weather, staff training and vacations. Officials say it also gives them more time to prepare students for spring state testing.