Enrollment numbers hold steady

Published 2:17 am Saturday, October 9, 2010

Student enrollment numbers are holding steady in Covington County, which is very good news to local educators.

Each year, systems are required to submit 40-day enrollment numbers that record average daily membership (ADM) or daily enrollment. Those numbers, which are gathered based on the first 20 days of school after Labor Day, are used to determine the level of state funding for a system — which includes teacher salaries.

Locally, the Covington County School System reported a total of 3,173 students – an increase of 76 students from 2009, and in Opp, a total of 1,353 – a decrease of only four students.

Numbers for the Andalusia City Schools were not available due to computer software issues, Superintendent Ted Watson said. The state education department has extended its reporting deadline to Oct. 15. Other systems throughout the state have experienced similar issues, prompting the extension, a state education department spokesman said Thursday.

Last year, the economy and the flu heavily impacted ADM numbers, school officials said.

However, this year, county schools logged:

• 188 students at Fleeta Jr. High;

• 206 at Florala High School;

• 573 at Pleasant Home School;

• 323 at Red Level Elementary;

• 311 at Red Level High;

• 525 at Straughn Elementary;

• 285 at Straughn Middle;

• 427 at Straughn High; and

• 299 at W. S. Harlan.

Superintendent Terry Holley said the increase is attributed to growing elementary school classes.

“Several schools saw increases, but the main numbers came from Red Level Elementary and Straughn Elementary,” he said. “There’s no way to tell where those students came from specifically – could be that they moved from out of state or moved from another location in state. We’re just proud of our numbers.

“And thank goodness, there was no flu this year,” he said.

As for the small decrease in Opp, Superintendent Michael Smithart said, “It is refreshing to see that for the first time in a while we didn’t experience a significant decrease in enrollment.

“For instance, we lost essentially one teacher unit last year due to a decrease in enrollment,” he said. “The numbers for this year and changes at the individual schools are mostly attributed to the transition of abnormally large classes from one grade to the next. The effect of those changes are will be experienced at the school level next year.”