Student numbers up for schools
Marc Valero | Highlands TodaySEBRING - After five years of declining enrollments, totaling 396 fewer students, the Highlands County School District is seeing a significant increase in students, especially in kindergarten.
Published: September 17, 2012
Published: September 17, 2012
The district projected a 26-student decrease in enrollment for the 2012-13 school year, but the tally after Labor Day shows an increase of 79 students.
Assistant Superintendent of Business Operations Mike Averyt said kindergarten was up by more than 100 students, so he believes families are moving into the county. The district's increases at sixth grade and ninth grade are also an indication that people are moving in.
The base funding amount for each student is $3,582, so 75 more students would bring in about $270,000, Averyt said, plus additional class-size funding.
"That's good news; the first time in four or five years that we have had increasing enrollment," he said
The district won't know for sure how its enrollment compares to last year's until the official enrollment survey week Oct. 8-12, Averyt noted.
Since the first day of school, five of six additional teachers have been added due to the enrollment increase, he said.
"Now we are assessing our class size and making sure all our classes are in compliance with the class-size requirement," he said. Lake Placid Elementary School, with an enrollment of 809 students, has the third-largest enrollment in the county, trailing only Sebring and Avon Park high schools.
A couple of teachers were added at Lake Placid Elementary and they have some issues that will be resolved before the October survey week to meet the class-size requirements, Averyt said.
Sun 'N Lake Elementary's enrollment of 728 is up 42 students compared to last year.
Last year, the school had 111 kindergarteners at this time. Now it has 151 students in kindergarten.
Sun 'N Lake Elementary Assistant Principal Margie Rhoades said they have added two teachers after school started, one in kindergarten and one in second grade.
A certified teaching assistant has been added to one kindergarten and one second-grade class, which have more than the class-size maximum of 18 students, she said. The teaching assistants are used when there are more than 18 students in a class, but not enough students to create a new class.
Every classroom is being used, Rhoades noted. The school has one portable classroom that could be used and possibly a second portable if needed.
Enrollment has increased by 117 in the elementary schools; it increased by 27 in the middle schools and decreased by 68 in the high schools.
The grade levels with fewer students are: second, third, seventh, 10th, 11th and 12th grades.
The district's grand total of student enrollment on Sept. 7 was 12,031, which is 79 more compared to 11,952 on Sept. 9 of last year.
The grand total includes the Academy at Youth Care Lane (alternative school), homebound students and Highlands Virtual School enrollments, which for Sept. 7 were 17, 38 and 16, respectively.
For the four school years from 2003-04 through 2006-07, the district added a total of 1,032 students before the first drop in students in the 2007-08 school year.