PERRYTON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Students and staff return back to school at Perryton ISD just a few months after an E-F3 tornado hit the city.

According to Perryton ISD Superintendent Greg Brown, when comparing enrollment numbers from this time last year this district’s enrollment numbers have decreased by 85 students.

“Some of those we can attribute to the tornado where students have lost housing. Some of it we can attribute to what I call normal loss of students or normal attrition. But we’ve settled in right now, as of today, we’re down 85 students from what we were one year ago,” said Brown.

Brown said that lower enrolment numbers can lead to a decrease in funding, but the district is prepared.

“We were able to look at our budget and make some adjustments even before we started going into our budget year,” said Brown.

Brown added that the district was expecting to lose students this year and settling at 85 students in total loss is a positive result considering the district could have lost a high of 150 to 160 students this year.

“So, settling in about 80 is I think a positive result, especially when we think about the fact that some of those students, we can’t attribute to that to the tornado is just normal student attrition. Then the student enrollment is down across our entire area. So, we’re not alone in having less students here,” said Brown. “We just had the extra challenge, having a tornado that came through our community.”

Brown said that although the enrollment number is lower this year the classrooms continue to look similar to last year’s classrooms.

“When you take even being down 85 students when you’re looking at a district that has 1,917 students, you know that average is just a, maybe one or two students in each classroom. Then when you are able to balance the staff numbers, it’s still the classroom that looks very similar to last year,” said Brown. “It doesn’t look terribly smaller; it still seems pretty much the same.”

According to Brown the drop in enrollment numbers has not affected the number of staff the district was able to keep. He said the district has relatively the same number of staff this year that they had last year, excluding two staff members which he states is not unknown for a district their size to lose.

“We have to remember that each one of these, each one of the numbers in that larger number is a student and is an individual. And when we look at our numbers when we are balancing staff, we have to remember that we’re working with children,” said Brown “Even though we’re balancing staff members, and we’re working with a few less students. We’ve had the extra challenge of making sure our students recover from the tornado, from the trauma of the tornado.”

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