2015 enrollment numbers steady

Published 1:52 am Saturday, October 17, 2015

Supers: Attendance means level funding for teacher units

All three school systems in Covington County saw a steady number of students enrolled this school year.

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 an increase of 24 students from last year for a total of 1,736 students.

ACS reported 476 students at the high school; 256 students at the junior high school, and 1,004 students at the elementary school.

Totals for the elementary school also include 33 pre-K students at Bright Beginnings Preschool.

Last year, ACS saw a 42-student decrease from the previous year.

Overall, those numbers are down significantly from 20 years ago, when ACS’s enrollment was 2,089. The system had 1,689 students 10 years ago.

ACS Superintendent Ted Watson said he didn’t really have an explanation for the decrease over the past two decades, but said the ACS numbers have always been driven by some extremely large classes and then in turn corrected when they have average-sized classes.

Watson said he was pleased that the enrollment numbers were up slightly, but overall they stayed pretty steady.

“The growth would be nice,” he said. “It’s nice to have additional staffing to provide educational opportunities for our students, but in our business, we just don’t want to lose any staff.”

Enrollment numbers in Opp were up for the third straight year.

This year marks the first year since 2012-2013 that enrollment has topped 1,300.

There were 549 students reported at Opp Elementary School; 396 at Opp Middle School and 359 students at Opp High School, for a total of 1,304.

OES was awarded a second Pre-K program for this school year.

Twenty years ago, Opp had an enrollment of 1,616. Ten years ago, enrollment was 1,377.

Covington County Schools saw an increase, as well.

The system saw an increase of 18 students to 3,169.

Comparatively, the system had 3,244 students 20 years ago and 3,190 students 10 years ago.

CCS was awarded two new Pre-K programs – one at Straughn Elementary School and another at Pleasant Home School.

The following is a breakdown of enrollment numbers by school:

• Fleeta Junior High School – 169 students;

• Florala High School – 213 students;

• Pleasant Home School – 574 students;

• Red Level Elementary School – 360 students;

• Red Level High School – 270 students;

• Straughn Elementary School –538 students;

• Straughn Middle School – 306 students;

• Straughn High School – 403 students; and

• W.S. Harlan – 282 students.

Covington County Schools Superintendent Shannon Driver said the new Pre-K classes helped keep the enrollment number level.

“We had some small decreases throughout our schools,” he said. “That’s common for one to be down and another to be up. The important thing is that we are level, which helps with funding.”

Driver said that since the county school system has been pretty close in numbers the last 20 years, it has helped with budgeting.

Additionally, Driver said that despite the low number of students at Fleeta Junior High School, there are no plans to close the school.

“It’s a great little school,” he said. “And it’s sustainable for us to run it.”