Schools see attendance drop in new year

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 26, 2006

Attendance is down throughout the Butler County School System according to data released by school officials during Thursday's Board of Education meeting.

Butler County schools have experienced a net loss of 91.80 students for the 2006-07 school year, according to Faye Stokes, attendance officer.

In 2005-06, Butler County had 3,514.6 students enrolled in the seven public schools that make up the school system. That number has fallen to 3,422.8 through the first 40 days of school.

&#8220The majority have moved from out of Butler County to another county with their families,” said Stokes.

Georgiana High School experienced the largest decline in student enrollment, dropping 19.7 students from 294.5 to 274.8. R.L. Austin Elementary School, also in Georgiana, fell from 323.6 to 307.4.

Greenville Middle School fell 15.4 students, while Greenville High School lost 12.1 students, Greenville Elementary School lost 9.7 students and W.O. Parmer's enrollment fell by 9.3 students.

McKenzie School's enrollment dropped from 348 students last school year to 338.6 students this year, a difference of 9.4.

Stokes said 12 students left Butler County's school system for church school inside the county, while 21 students left the system for church schools outside the county. 20 students also transferred to private school, said Stokes.

Superintendent Mike Looney said the decline in student enrollment is troubling.

&#8220I think if you examine the data the majority of the losses are coming from the south end of the county,” said Looney. &#8220If you go by current enrollment figures R.L. Austin and Georgiana are actually smaller than McKenzie. From a financial standpoint it becomes more and more difficult to operate these schools if the students aren't there.”

Looney said he's not proposing the closure of any schools in Butler County. He did say it was a situation the Board needed to be aware of. He also referred to a population and household projection study conducted by the University of Alabama for Greenville and the surrounding area that showed a moderate decline in the school-aged population from 2000 to 2015.