Fayette school enrollment still lags pace of previous years, down 726

There was a hope that a significant number of students would enroll in Fayette County schools by the time this year’s third enrollment count was taken on Sept. 15. Some did enroll, but not nearly enough to take a bite out of the continuing fall in total enrollment that has been occurring since 2008. The Sept. 15 count showed 20,442 students compared to 21,168 for the same date in 2010, a difference of 726 fewer students in one year. In the end, enrollment is tied to funding, with every 250 students generating approximately $1 million in state funding.

The school system will likely add additional students well into the school year. But that number may be smaller than what has been customary if the first month of school is any indication. Enrollment figures for the first day of school this year showed 20,293 students compared to 20,429 on Aug. 15 and 20,442 on Sept. 15. The numbers show essentially no increase in the second and third counts, with only 13 students added to the rolls between mid-August and mid-September.

Data provided by the Fayette County School System shows enrollment per school as of Sept. 15, 2010, the enrollment numbers as of Sept. 15 this year and the student capacity at the respective school. With a current total of 20,442 students, the fall in student enrollment shows 726 fewer students than the 21,168 attending exactly one year ago.

The school system saw drops at each level, with 312 fewer students in the county’s elementary schools, 134 fewer at the middle schools and 284 fewer at the high schools.

Current enrollment numbers put the total student population at the 2002 level. The school system’s largest enrollment came in 2007 with a student population of 22,367. The numbers have fallen each year since that time.

A look at the enrollment figures supplied by the school system shows a relatively steady increase in the student population from 2001 through 2007. Those figures began to decline in 2008, a trend that continued through the 2010 school year that ended in May and looks set to continue this year.

2010-2011 - 21,207
2009-2010 - 21,683
2008-2009 - 22,047
2007-2008 - 22,108
2006-2007 - 22,367
2005-2006 - 22,291
2004-2005 - 21,531
2003-2004 - 21,195
2002-2003 - 21,314
2001-2002 - 20,337
2000-2001 - 19,832

In a larger sense, the drop in enrollment coincides with significant budgetary issues. Each student in the system brings in approximately $4,000 in state revenue. Thus, each 250 students generates approximately $1 million in state funds.

The Fayette County Board of Education is currently looking at a combination of ways to generate new revenue and/or cut expenses that currently total approximately $10 million in order to adopt a state-required balanced budget set to begin on July 1.

Unless enrollment increases, the continued loss of students will only add to the imbalance of revenues versus expenditures and, unless other revenue sources are identified, will add to the cost-cutting measures that will be required to balance the budget.

School: 9-15-10 9-15-11 Capacity
Braelinn Ele. 501 455 588
Brooks Ele. 301 296 488
Burch Ele. 635 579 638
Cleveland Ele. 558 517 713
Crabapple Ele. 528 503 688
F’ville Inter. 421 402 488
Hood Ave. Ele. 392 369 463
Huddleston Ele. 569 569 615
Inman Ele. 524 488 663
Kedron Ele. 576 549 613
Minter Ele. 576 581 763
N. Fayette Ele. 468 462 563
Oak Grove Ele. 512 511 588
PTC Ele. 479 507 488
Peeples Ele. 659 606 763
Spring Hill Ele. 511 507 738
Tyrone Ele. 355 350 418
Elem. school totals 8,565 8,253
Bennett’s Mill Middle 598 580 1,200
Booth Middle 1,032 1,028 1,163
Fayette Middle 794 704 1,138
Flat Rock Middle 854 823 1,063
Rising Starr Middle 1,024 1,041 1,163
Whitewater Middle 823 815 1,088
Middle school totals 5,125 4,991
Fayette High 1,410 1,327 1,738
McIntosh High 1,675 1,626 1,638
Sandy Creek High 1,201 1,187 1,438
Starr’s Mill High 1,567 1,491 1,788
Whitewater High 1,548 1,486 1,463
High school totals 7,401 7,117
Alternative Program 26 39
Mainstay 27 21
REACH 24 21
Totals 21,168 20,442

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