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WDC's numbers shrink by 49

Wadena-Deer Creek student numbers in grades K-12 dropped from 1,054 on opening day in September 2008 to 1,006 at the beginning of the 2009 school year, according to WDC superintendent Virginia Dahlstrom.

The 504 students that Wadena-Deer Creek high school is starting the year with is 46 students off the hign school's numbers one year ago. The district lost only three students in the elementary grades year-over-year.

"This is what we were expecting," Wadena-Deer Creek superintendent Virginia Dahlstrom said, noting that the number of school-aged children of migrant farm workers has not been added due to a late harvesting year.

The largest class at WDC is the junior class, which stands at 110. The smallest class is the second grade which has 62 students.

WDC goes into the 2009-10 school year with 504 students in grades 7-12 and 502 students in grades K-6.

The largest class in the elementary ranks is the third grade where there are 79 students.

"When you look at our enrollment in grades K-6 it is pretty stable," Dahlstrom said.

The Wadena-Deer Creek school board has trimmed the number of bus routes from 14 to 13.

"Our bus routes are longer because of our cutbacks but they seemed to go very smoothly the first day," Dahlstrom said.

The number of teachers has been cut from 77 to 73 and administrative cuts have also been made. Elementary principal Louie Rutten cut back on his hours. Former secondary assistant principal Brian Silbernick will continue to serve as activities director and will teach math.

St. Ann's Catholic School is beginning the 2009-10 school year with 41 students enrolled. This is the fourth continuous year of growth for the school, according to principal Eileen Weber.

A few of the year's goals include celebrating The Year of the Priest, studying the Mass, utilizing the Picturing America collection of prints the school was awarded, and updating the religion curriculum and various school policies.

Verndale numbers jumped from 462 in May 2009 to 482 at the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year.

Verndale opened the 2008-09 school year with 465 students. Almost half (48 percent) of Verndale's students are open-enrolled from other districts.

"I think the small school size is a big thing and our teachers keep that line of communications open with parents," Verndale superintendent Paul Brownlow said.