ACS sees dip in enrollment

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Andalusia City Schools saw a slight decrease in the number of enrolled students this school year, while Covington County and Opp City Schools saw increases.

Each year, systems are required to submit enrollment numbers that record average daily membership (ADM) or daily enrollment.

Those numbers, which are gathered based on attendance the first 20 days after Labor Day, are used to determine the level of funding for a system – which includes teacher salaries – for the following fiscal year.

Andalusia City Schools saw a 42-student decrease from last year for a total of 1,712 students.

Andalusia City Schools reported 512 students at the high school; 248 students at Andalusia Junior High School; and 952 students at Andalusia Elementary School.

ACS superintendent Ted Watson said enrollment numbers typically go up and down.

“I don’t think these numbers are anything to be concerned with,” he said. “I think this is an adjustment over time, and a natural fall in enrollment.”

Watson said the system went through a period of three years in which the classes at AES were huge.

“They may be down from last year, but they are up from where they were five or eight years ago,” he said. “You obviously don’t want to lose any students because we earn our numbers next year from this.”

Watson said he feels it’s too early to determine if the system would lose teaching units.

“It will be determined by where the divisors are set by the legislature,” he said.

Five years ago, ACS’s enrollment was at 1,670 and was the same eight years ago.

Enrollment numbers at Opp City Schools were up 22 from last year’s totals, but still lower than the 2012-2013 school year.

Superintendent Michael Smithart said the 1,284 students were good news to the system.

“I truly believe that folks are taking notice of our programs and offerings, and realizing that Opp Schools are a wonderful place to receive a quality education,” he said.

Smithart said system-wide, the increase in enrollment allows the system to gain back one teacher unit.

“It doesn’t completely offset last year’s loss, but it is a start,” he said.

OCS’s enrollment dropped to 1,263 last year, which was down 50-60 students from the previous year and had a slight impact on overall funding.

Covington County Schools saw an increase of nearly 30 students over last year. The system reported 3,151 students, including:

• Fleeta Junior High School -173 students;

• Florala High School – 217 students;

• Pleasant Home School – 556 students;

• Red Level Elementary School – 355 students;

• Red Level High School – 273 students;

• Straughn Elementary School – 557 students;

• Straughn High School – 405 students;

• Straughn Middle School – 316 students; and

• W.S. Harlan – 299 students.

County Schools Superintendent Shannon Driver said the increase would translate into a little more than a unit.

“Our net increase is around 27 students,” Driver said. “We are very pleased to be able to pick up a little bit. Last year, our increase was in the upper teens. That’s two consecutive years of growth. We take that into consideration that people recognize the quality of our system.”