LOVELOCK - A special thank you is in order to the Lovelock Review-Miner and Winnemucca Publishing for offering this opportunity to share with you information about the Pershing County School District.

It is our plan to do this on a monthly basis. This first article will address student population, school locales and student transportation.

The district had its official count day on Thursday, Sept. 19, and saw a very small growth of two students from 708 to 710. Whereas this might seem insignificant at first, it is important to note that the district's enrollment has finally stabilized after a 15-year stretch of declining enrollment during which time we saw the loss of one-third of the student body.

In the fall of 1996, the district peaked at 1,002 students, which eventually dwindled to 679 in 2010 and resulted in the scaling back of programs and staff along the way. We hope that as the economy improves the enrollment will grow so that we can offer our students more options and flexibility.

The district operates four schools: Imlay Elementary, Lovelock Elementary, Pershing County Middle, and Pershing County High, as well as an Adult Education Program at the Coal Canyon High School located inside the Lovelock Correctional Center. This program is independent of the others and receives separate state funding. It is currently providing educational services to over 790 adult learners working toward a high school diploma.

Also included in the school district's boundaries are approximately 200 students who reside in the Grass Valley area of the county. These students attend the Humboldt County schools under a cooperative working agreement that has been in place for a number of years.

The Pershing County School District provides transportation for these students as mandated by law (NRS 392.010[2]) by operating four bus routes carrying 144 students. That figure is actually higher than those students receiving transportation services in the Lovelock area where 125 students, or approximately 18 percent, are transported on a daily basis.

A quick glance back at the history of the Grass Valley area shows 84 students enrolled during the 1990-91 school year with steady and sometimes surprising growth with an increase in one year of 101 students (56.7 percent) in 1996 from 178 students to 279 students and eventually to over 325 students.

At that time, the district had six bus routes. However, the growth was not sustained and dropped to 180 students by the fall of 2008 and has just now started to increase again to over 200.

In summary, the Pershing County School District (PCSD) is accountable for providing educational services to over 1,700 students county-wide with a diversity of programs. These programs will be addressed in subsequent articles.