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Brighton Student Enrollment Exceeds Original Projections

More students required Brighton Board of Education OK hiring more teachers during its Monday meeting.

Brighton Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the hiring of nine new elementary teachers during its meeting Monday night.

The additional hirings are because the district did not lose 160 students as was projected, according to Brighton Superintendent Greg Gray. Instead, the district was up about 299 students as of last Thursday and Friday, Gray said.

"Right now our numbers are looking stronger than they have in the past," Gray said.

The district will confirm enrollment on the fourth Wednesday of the month, Sept. 26.

Brighton Area Schools has seen declining student enrollment since the 2008-09 school year, losing about 800 students, which cost the district roughly $5.6 million in revenue through per-pupil funding from the state, according to Assistant Superintendent of Finance Maria Gistinger.

"Declining enrollment is a death sentence for a school district," Gray said.

Gray said most of the teachers were hired two weeks ago, when the district had a better idea on enrollment numbers, and one teacher was hired after school began. Gray also said that every position is absolutely needed by the school district.

"We wanted to wait and see who showed up," Gray said. "Those are $100,000 decisions every time we make them, so we try to be very conservative in relation to that. But if the (student) numbers warrant that, then we have to do what we have to do."

Trustee John Conely expressed concern that the hiring of additional staff could put the district back into a deficit, but was assured by Gray and Gistinger, that it was not a possibility.

The new teachers range from kindergarten to fourth grade and include one who teaches Spanish and two others who teach physical education and special education respectively. They will take up positions at , and Schools.

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