Local school enrollment varies

Published 9:58 pm Thursday, August 12, 2010

When students returned to schools across Pike County this week, it was a period of change for some.

There were new faces on campus, as new students began school, as well as students advancing from one school to another.

With those changes came changes to the enrollment figures for local schools.

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All in all, Troy City Schools and Pike Liberal Arts School are both currently showing slight declines in their student population, while Pike County Schools shows an increase.

At PCS, the system is up from 2,236 students across five schools at the end of the 2009-10 school year to 2,304 students currently on campus, an increase of 68 students.

“I think that number of plus-68 is going to be pretty close to the actual number,” said superintendent Mark Bazzell. “I think it will vary a little bit here and there, but either way, I think our total enrollment is definitely going to be up.”

The numbers for PCS were obtained through the means of a head count after problems with the new statewide INOW system occurred throughout the week.

Every system in the state has had to move to the INOW data enrollment system, with many having difficulties enrolling students into the system.

Troy City Schools was one of the systems that did have technical problems with the system, and superintendent Linda Felton-Smith said TCS’s enrollment numbers could change once the kinks have been worked out.

“We are still in the process of attempting to add students to our data enrollment system, so we could see these numbers go up,” Felton-Smith said. “Of course, with the possibility of withdrawals, it could go down as well. We’ll just continue to monitor this on a daily basis.”

TCS is currently showing a system-wide enrollment of 2,162, down 28 students from the 2,190 enrolled at the end of the previous school year.

Felton-Smith said once the INOW system is fully up and running properly, she expects the total enrollment to rise, rather than fall.

“I expect, however, that we will see these numbers go up once all the students are entered into the system,” Felton-Smith said. “We have several students who are attending classes and who are technically enrolled that we simply have been unable to get into the system as of yet.”

At Pike Liberal Arts, the total enrollment is 478 students, down just two from the year-end total of 480 last school year.

“We’re very blessed because we’re at almost exactly the same number we were last year, so we’re very excited,” said Headmaster Ceil Sikes.

Part of Sikes’ reason for excitement stems from the increased number of students at the school’s youngest age level.

“We had to open a third K4 class, and that’s the first time we’ve ever had to do that, so that’s a big deal for us,” Sikes said. “We have 314 families involved with Pike Liberal Arts now, and that ranges from families that have just joined us to families who have been involved since the school opened. So, when you combine all these new faces with all the familiar ones, we have a great blend of people to work with here. We just love our school, and we love the direction it’s headed in.”

In the two public school systems, both Felton-Smith and Bazzell said their systems were staffed adequately to handle the current student enrollment.

“The class sizes should be reasonable and comparable to the class sizes we saw last year,” Felton-Smith said.

Bazzell, meanwhile, said there was a possibility of PCS adding additional staff at some point.

“We’re ok with staffing, but I think we’ll be looking at some of our lower grade levels, especially at Pike County Elementary School, and we’ll evaluate the possibility of adding staff,” Bazzell said.

On a school-by-school basis, PCS saw an increase at Banks School from 348 students at the end of the previous school year to 360 students currently.

Goshen Elementary School’s enrollment is down from 556 to 541, while Goshen High School saw the biggest jump in the system, increasing its student population from 396 to 447. Enrollment at PCES is up from 453 to 475m while Pike County High School’s enrollment dipped very slightly from 483 students to 481.

Meanwhile, in TCS, Troy Elementary School’s enrollment fell from 1,046 to 1,035. Charles Henderson Middle School’s enrollment rose slightly from 525 to 527. Charles Henderson High School’s enrollment fell from 619 to 600 students.

Again, all TCS numbers are likely to change once the INOW data system has all TCS students enrolled.