Enrollment study: Tyrone Elem. to add students over next decade

It has been no secret that enrollment in Fayette County schools has been declining for several years. A new enrollment study by the University of Georgia shows even fewer students between now and 2021. But for Tyrone Elementary School there may be a silver lining in the continuing storm of falling enrollment and revenues.

The 2011-2021 enrollment forecast performed by the Carl Vinson Institute at UGA that will be discussed at the Fayette County Board of Education meeting on Oct. 17 shows the falling enrollment at Fayette County schools to result in the loss of another 1,649 students over the next 10 years. But for Tyrone Elementary that picture does not look so bleak.

Tyrone in 2001 had an enrollment of 403 students. By 2011 that number, like many others in Fayette, had declined to 358. But it is the projection for 2021 that says Tyrone Elementary could see a population of 454 students.

But what about the schools in the Tyrone area of northwest Fayette County?

The enrollment study showed Burch Elementary with a 2001 enrollment of 581, a 2011 enrollment of 562 and a projected 2021 enrollment of 451.

Flat Rock Middle School is also projected to see a decline in the student population. Enrollment in 2001 was 958 while the 2011 numbers showed 838 students and the 2021 projection shows a further decrease to 713 students.

The picture looks similar for Sandy Creek High School. Enrollment in 2001 showed 1,229 students, decreasing slightly to 1,209 in 2011 and falling to 1,078 in 2021.

The 2021 projection may or may not be music to the ears of some of the parents of Tyrone Elementary School students who recently attended a meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education to insist that their school remain open even if revenue shortfalls require that one or more of the school system’s facilities be closed. Unfortunately for the school board, and even though Superintendent Jeff Bearden earlier this month suggested that no schools be closed for the next two years, the reality is that the school system is faced with trimming approximately $10 million off the upcoming 2011-2012 budget in order to remain viable as a school system.

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