By Messenger Staff | Wise County Messenger
Wise County School Enrollment Increases.
All but two Wise County school districts saw an increase in enrollment numbers from the first day of school last year to the first day this year.
While Alvord ISD’s growth was smaller than some other districts, with just six students separating last year’s first day count of 705 to 2016’s 711, Superintendent Randy Brown said that’s how he prefers it.
“This way it’s manageable,” he said. “This has been our pattern for the last few years, just gradual increases.”
Brown said the district didn’t have to add any staff to account for the slight uptick in students.
Boyd ISD jumped from 1,148 on the first day of school in 2015 to 1,189 this year, one of the largest percentage increases in the county. Superintendent Ted West said the growth didn’t stop there – another 36 students joined the district in the first week of school.
“We had expected more than 1,200,” West said. “We’ll keep enrolling past Labor Day, so there may be just a few more come in.”
West said the enrollments aren’t putting the district in a personnel bind and no additional staff is needed to help with the extra students.
“Increased enrollment is always a good thing,” he said. “We’re always happy to have a few more.”
Bridgeport schools saw a slight increase in enrollment numbers from the first day of the 2015-2016 school year to the first day of 2016-2017, going from 2,042 to 2,060 students.
Superintendent Eddie Bland said that the number of students was right about where the district had predicted. BISD hired one new second grade teacher and rearranged some third-grade teaching schedules to account for the new students.
Bland noted that the current kindergarten class had been unusually small when they were in pre-kindergarten last year, but that class added 12 to 15 students this year.
“We’re in good shape,” Bland said.
While Chico ISD dropped slightly, losing one student from the first day in fall 2015 to the first day of 2016, Superintendent Don Elsom said the school had already picked up seven more students in the first week of classes.
“I usually don’t put a lot of stock until the first few weeks are past us,” Elsom said. “We get our true numbers later.”
Elsom said gradual growth benefits the district in the long term. As enrollment increases, the district sends less of its revenue back to the state and is able to take advantage of increased state aid.
“Any kind of growth helps us,” he said.
Decatur ISD saw an increase of 55 students from the first day last year with a first-day enrollment of 3,050.
Superintendent Rod Townsend said he was hoping the number would be around 3,100. With the enrollment number growing each day this week, Townsend said he felt the district enrollment would soon reach that number.
He added that historically, enrollment numbers continue to increase until the week after Labor Day before leveling off.
The first day numbers included an increase of about 20 students at Rann Elementary, a decrease of about 20 to 30 students at the middle school and an increase of about 54 students at the high school. Young and Carson elementary schools remained nearly the same.
Northwest ISD welcomed 21,700 students on the first day, an enrollment figure that will likely quickly increase to more than 22,000 in the coming weeks.
Paradise ISD experienced the second-largest percentage of enrollment increase after Northwest.
The district gained 43 students from the first day of 2015 to the first day of 2016.
At Paradise ISD’s last school board meeting Superintendent Mac Edwards explained that more students moving into the district generally helps when facing a budget shortfall like the $126,000 deficit in the 2016-2017 budget.
“In the past couple of years, student increases have helped offset our losses,” Edwards said.
Slidell Superintendent Greg Enis said their first-day enrollment was 259, down from 270 last year.
“Most of that is the difference between the senior (class that just graduated) and pre-kindergarten class (that just started),” Enis said. “It’s down a little from where we ended last school year.”
He said the last couple of years the district started with 250 to 260 kids but would hit 270 to 280 during the school year.
“That’s just the nature of the world we live in nowadays with parents changing jobs and that kind of thing,” he said.
Last year the district saw an enrollment spike in January and February and although Enis wondered if they would see the same thing in 2017, he takes it all in stride.
“You can’t spend a lot of time worrying about it, but when they show up just get them enrolled and get them in class,” he said.
See original article in the Wise County Messenger.