Coweta school enrollment up

The Coweta County School System began the new school year with an increase in student enrollment. While not a matter of significant importance in previous years when the local and state economies were booming, any increase in enrollment today shows that the lingering recession is not as problematic to Coweta as it is to some of its neighbors.

Coweta schools at the end of the 2011-2012 school year had an enrollment of 22,498 students. That number in August at the beginning of the current school year had increased to 22,700, representing the addition of just over 200 students.

The Coweta County School System back in 2001 had an enrollment of 16,800. Ten years later that figure has grown to 22,700. Looking at the past five years, Coweta’s student enrollment was 21,206 in 2007, 21,719 in 2008, 22,138 in 2009, 22,501 in 2010, 22,438 in 2011 and 22,498 in 2012. The decrease of 63 students between the 2009 and 2010 school years was the first loss of enrollment on record for the school system.

In terms of the gains in enrollment this year, the school system saw some increase in the number of elementary school students, no increase in middle schools, but a larger increase in high schools.

But why do enrollment numbers matter? It is because each student generates approximately $4,000 per year in state funds and every 250 students translates into $1 million in funds coming from the state. The problem with decreasing enrollment, such as what has been happening next door in Fayette County for the past few years, is that the portion of the money coming from decreases leaves administrators and school board members struggling with creative ways to offset falling revenues that can quickly amount to millions of dollars.

And it is these days of a continuing climate of recession that money matters more than ever.

The situation in Fayette County is markedly different than in Coweta. Fayette schools have lost approximately 2,000 students in the past few years. That loss continued into the 2012-2013 school year when Fayette lost another 200 students.

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