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Hartington shows largest increase in enrollment in Cedar County

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HARTINGTON — Hartington-Newcastle Public Schools saw double-digit growth in school enrollment this year compared to last year’s numbers, leading the county in year-over-year growth.

A total of 399 students - 226 at the elementary and 173 at the high school level - are currently enrolled, an increase of 19 from the previous year.

Superintendent A.J. Johnson said it’s hard to point to anything specific to attribute the growth to this year.

“We did have some people move into the area and we’ve had a few people transfer in from other schools,” he said. “I hope people see us as a good school they want to send their kids to.”

Three Cedar County schools - Hartington-Newcastle, Randolph and Wynot - saw increases in enrollment while the other five schools had a decrease in students year over year.

Randolph netted an additional 10 students and Wynot an extra five.

Slight decreases were seen in the other public schools in the county.

Cedar County’s largest school district, Laurel-Concord-Coleridge, saw a decrease of five students compared with last year’s numbers.

Cedar County’s parochial schools saw a decrease as well with East-West Catholic Elementary in Bow Valley down two students, Holy Trinity down seven students and Cedar Catholic down nine.

Mary Pinkelman, secretary at East-West Catholic, said she just had three students transfer out of the school Monday.

“You should’ve asked me for my numbers on Friday,” she said with a smile. “Who knows? Next week, we may have two more.”

It’s the constant fluctuation of students in and out that doesn’t have schools too concerned about slight dips in enrollment year over year.

Cedar Catholic Principal Chris Uttecht said the decrease at Cedar Catholic and at Holy Trinity is nothing of concern right now and follows the census trends overall.

“As rural Nebraska continues to get smaller, long term our classes continue to decrease,” he said.

A natural fluctuation occurs in enrollment as a large class graduates and incoming classes aren’t as high in numbers, he said.

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