The student enrollment in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District has remained fairly constant over the past five years, according to an Oct. 8 report.

In 2009, the district had 4,243 students while the enrollment this fall was 4,218 students – a drop of 25 students or about six-tenths of a percentage point.

Deputy Superintendent Justin Frese told the school board at the Oct. 8 meeting that the figures were for K-12 students, and that preschool numbers aren’t reflected in the totals.

Figures by school include Dunbar Elementary with 258 students, El Verano Elementary with 448, Flowery Elementary with 340, Prestwood Elementary with 437, Sassarini Elementary with 405, Adele Harrison Middle with 438, Altimira Middle with 506 and Sonoma Valley High with 1,339 students.

Over the past five years, Prestwood and Adele Harrison enrollment has dropped by 31 students each while Altimira has gained 37 students.

Frese told the board that the average class size in K-2 this year was 23 students at all the elementary schools except Sassarini, where it was 22. Class sizes in grades three to five ranged from a low of 25 at Prestwood to a high of 29 at Dunbar.

Adele Harrison had an average class size of 26 while Altimira’s average class size was 27.

Sonoma Valley High had an average class size of 27, up from an average of 25 in 2009.

Frese characterized the enrollment dip as “slightly trending down.” But school Boardmember Gary DeSmet said he wouldn’t characterize a drop of 25 students as “trending down,” and he pointed out that it was only about one-half of 1 percent. “I’m glad Sonoma has a healthy public school population,” he said.

In other board business, Frese told the board that the district has received a grant of $638,449 from the Lower Emission School Bus Replacement Program. This will allow the district to replace four of its older buses.

Frese told the board buses run in the $130,000 to $150,000 range. The district currently has 23 buses.

The new buses will be diesel powered and get about seven miles a gallon. Boardmember Nicole Ducarroz asked about buses running on vegetable oil, and Frese told her the district didn’t generate enough vegetable oil. Frese was also asked about electric buses and said that natural gas might be the only alternative to diesel right now.

It will take a couple of months for the buses to be delivered to the district.

Also, the board:

• Heard a report about the Local Control Accountability Plan.

• Honored Anthony Carranza and Nora Ligotti as students of the year from Flowery.

• Held a public hearing – in which no member of the public was present – on the sufficiency of instructional materials.

• Approved a resolution proclaiming Oct. 21 as National School bus Safety Week.