School enrollment numbers up

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Student numbers are up in two of the county’s three school systems.

Superintendents for the Andalusia City and the Covington County school systems say that enrollment numbers “look great” for this school year; however, official student enrollment numbers won’t be compiled and sent to the state education department until 40 days of classes are completed.

In Opp, Superintendent Michael Smithart said early numbers indicate a slight decrease system wide.

“Our loss in enrollment is essentially transient students, with estimates at about 50 students total,” Smithart said. “It’s peculiar in that there are very few local transfers. By that, I mean transfers within a 25-30 miles radius. At the high school alone, we have sent records to 10 different states. Obviously the economic situation is taking its toll. Our base student population is pretty steady.”

In Andalusia City Schools, Superintendent Ted Watson said numbers are up at each of the schools, with 504 registered at the high school; 414 at the middle school and 830 at the elementary school.

County School Superintendent Shannon Driver said enrollment is at its highest level since the 2007-2008 school year.

“We’re up 75 students, which puts our overall number at 3,166,” Driver said. “We’re seeing significant growth at all three schools in Straughn, at Red Level elementary and high school, as well as Florala High School.”

Driver said he couldn’t pinpoint the reason for the increase, but he’s glad to see the numbers climb.

“It’s too early to tell why exactly,” he said. “We do know we had some larger classes that are moving up that are affecting the middle and high schools. We also have strong numbers in new enrollees in kindergarten. Others are holding steady. The numbers aren’t broken down by grade, so we’ll have a better idea when we do our official report for the state.”