Fewer Fayette students in classes this year than last


A school system that a decade ago was growing by an elementary school a year has shifted into reverse. All age groups are affected as elementary schools, middle schools and high schools — with a few exceptions — are having fewer students show up for classes.

Preliminary student enrollment in Fayette County public schools is down by approximately 2.5 percent so far this year compared to the same time last year. And last year was slightly down from the previous year.

So far only six schools in the system are showing increases in student population this year. It remains to be seen if final enrollment figures will represent the downward trend that began in the 2007-2008 school year.

Preliminary figures provided by the Fayette County School System for Aug. 16 showed 21,216 students enrolled in the county’s schools compared to 21,775 enrolled on Aug. 19, 2009. That difference of 559 fewer students this year equates to approximately 2.5 percent fewer students in the school system.

It is important to note that enrollment figures always build somewhat as the school year unfolds. The school system by mid-September usually has a reasonable idea about what total enrollment will look like for the year.

Enrollment at the county’s 17 elementary schools shows a student population of 8,520 on Aug. 16 compared to 8,702 on Aug. 19, 2009, a difference of 182 fewer students for the comparative period in the lower grades.

Enrollment at the county’s six middle schools showed a smaller difference in the number of students this year, with 5,128 enrolled last week compared to 5,177 a year ago, a difference of 49.

And at the county’s five high schools, an enrollment of 7,821 in August 2009 gave way to an enrollment of 7,487 in mid-August this ear, a difference of 334 fewer students.

Most schools around the county are currently experiencing relatively small decreases in student population compared to this time last year. But there are a few exceptions where enrollment has already increased over last year.

Of the county’s 17 elementary schools, four thus far have shown a small increase in student population over the same period last year and all are in the Peachtree City/Tyrone area. Those include Kedron Elementary, Oak Grove Elementary, Peachtree City Elementary and Tyrone Elementary.

And Fayette has two middle schools and one high school that are seeing small increases over this time last year. They, too, are in Peachtree City and Tyrone and include Booth Middle, Flat Rock Middle and Starr’s Mill High.

A look at the enrollment figures previously supplied by the school system shows a steady increase in the student population from 2001 through 2007. Those figures began to decline in 2008, a trend that continued through the 2010 school year that ended in May.

2010 – 21,775 (as of January 2009)

2009 – 22,047

2008 – 22,108

2007 – 22,367

2006 – 22,291

2005 – 21,531

2004 – 21,195

2003 – 21,314

2002 – 20,337

2001 – 19,832

Though small numbers of students do move into the system throughout the year, the Fayette County School System by mid-September should have a good handle on what the total student population will look like.