Fayette school enrollment numbers rebound slightly

Some things are looking up — like school enrollment numbers.

It could be the beginning of the reversal of a trend that has plagued the Fayette County schools for the past six years. Enrollment figures for the first week of school showed the school system with 20,041 students, an increase of 53 students over the opening week of school last year. It was in the 2006-2007 school year that Fayette had 22,367 students enrolled.

That Fayette schools had an increase of 53 students, or any students for that matter, over the first week of school last year is significant since that has not happened since the beginning days of the Great Recession.

Whether Fayette County has turned the corner and will begin seeing increases in public school enrollment will not be known for at least a month since, historically, additional students join the school system as families move into the county during the fall.

Fayette schools over the decades of the 1980s through the mid-2000s saw increasing numbers of students as the county’s population continued to grow. Fayette had an all-time high enrollment of 22,367 in 2006-2007.

Economic conditions coinciding with the Great Recession also impacted the school system. Enrollment numbers shrank to 22,108 in 2007-2008 and to 21,683 in 2009-2010. Enrollment numbers continued to fall in subsequent years. By mid-2012 the school system had 20,463 students enrolled.

Current figures put school system enrollment about where it was in 2001-2002 when 20,337 students attended Fayette schools.

There is more to enrollment than the number of students attending classes. There is also the revenue from state sources that accompanies enrollment numbers. Each student in the system brings in approximately $4,000 in state revenue. Thus, each 250 students generates approximately $1 million in state funds.