The Clark County School District's 2010-11 enrollment is 309,977, an increase of 501 students over last year, district officials announced Monday.
The officials said the 0.2 percent gain will increase per-pupil funding from the state by about $4.5 million, which will be used to hire additional teachers and staff.
That money is on top of the $54 million the district is getting from the federal Education Jobs legislation.
District officials will adjust staffing at schools this week based on the enrollment data.
Schools either will gain new teachers or, at worst, lose very few staffers, said Martha Tittle, the district's chief human resources officer.
The district's overall budget for the 2010-11 school year is $2.1 billion.
Officials were pleased by the bump in enrollment. They had anticipated the number would be down about 300 students from last year.
The 2009-10 school year was the first time since the 1983-84 school year that enrollment had declined.
Compared with the 2008-09 school year, when the district reached its peak enrollment of 311,240, this year's student population is still down by 1,263 students.
Lauren Kohut-Rost, deputy superintendent for instruction, said it is too early to forecast trends in student enrollment.
Officials noted, however, that they're seeing the most growth in student population at the suburban periphery of the Las Vegas Valley, while enrollment in the urban center seems to be stagnating.
In particular, Rick Baldwin, acting director of demographics, noticed an influx of students in southwest Clark County. Baldwin said many of the homes in master-planned communities are "finally getting filled in."
Officials said the bump in enrollment this year helped validate a controversial decision from two years ago to proceed with the construction of five new schools despite fears that enrollment could decline with the recession.
The five schools opened in August. Four are elementary schools: Duncan and Triggs in North Las Vegas; Stuckey in southwest Las Vegas; and Wallin in Henderson. The fifth new school is West Career and Technical Academy, at 11945 W. Charleston Blvd., west of the Las Vegas Beltway.
"We needed those seats," Kohut-Rost said. "The new schools have met their projections or come in over their projections" of enrollment.
The older schools affected by the new school openings are "either meeting or exceeding their current projections as well," Kohut-Rost said. "The schools were needed."
The district remains a minority-majority district with Hispanic students making up about 42 percent of the enrollment.
White students account for 32 percent of the enrollment, blacks are about 13 percent, and Asians are about 8 percent.
Because of new federal guidelines, the district added new demographic categories for multiracial and native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander.
Clark County has 10,535 students who identify themselves as multiracial. They make up 3.4 percent of the enrollment. There are 2,954 native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders, making up 1 percent of the enrollment.
District officials said enrollment numbers are still subject to verification by the state Department of Education.
Contact reporter James Haug at email@example.com or 702-374-7917.