2nd week Fayette schools’ enrollment down 787 from last year


The second week of classes at Fayette County schools brought a further decline in enrollment numbers from the first week, according to figures provided by the central office.

Figures for the second week of school show a loss of 787 students over the same time a year ago. The current numbers appear to continue the trend of falling enrollment that began in 2007.

Information supplied by the school system showed that the overall student count for the second week of school this year totaled 20,429 students.

That compares to 21,216 for the same time period a year ago, or 787 fewer students this year.

One week earlier, on the first day of school, the system saw 20,293 students arrive for classes compared to the 20,894 attending first-day classes last year, a difference of 601 fewer students this year.

Enrollment numbers during the first part of the school year are tabulated on the first day of school, the first day of the second week of school and again in mid-September.

As with many school districts, the count during the second week shows an increase in enrollment, as does the count in mid-September. This, at least historically, is because families continue to move into an area well after the school year begins.

Mid-August enrollment figures indicate that while nearly all schools are showing fewer students so far this year compared to the same time last year, there are a few with numbers exceeding the Aug. 16, 2010 count.

[See enrollment chart nearby for enrollment numbers from individual schools year to year.]

There is yet another view of the enrollment numbers that may or may not later prove to be significant. Enrollment on the first day of school this year was 20,293 compared to the 20,894 students attending the first day of school in August 2010, a difference of 601 fewer students this year.

Though too early to tell what will happen with enrollment in months to come, it is of note to compare the difference between the first and second weeks of school this year to the comparable days last year. The school system, as usual, added more students during the second week. But the rate at which those numbers were added was of interest.

Fayette schools added 322 students between the first and second weeks of school in 2010 while adding a significantly smaller number, 136 students, between the first and second weeks this year.

There will likely be further increases in enrollment, at least to some degree, after September and into the beginning of 2012. Those additional increases in student numbers, again historically, tend to be fewer in number as the year progresses.

The school system will continue to track enrollment throughout the year.

Fayette County schools have been experiencing a decrease in enrollment since the peak enrollment period that ended in 2007. And the drop in enrollment coincides with significant budgetary issues. Each student in the system brings in approximately $4,000 in state revenue. Thus, each 250 students generates approximately $1 million in state funds.

The Fayette County School System is currently looking at potential ways to cut several million dollars in expenses from the 2012-2013 budget that begins on July 1 in order to comply with state law and adopt a balanced budget. Unless enrollment increases, the continued loss of students will only add to the imbalance of revenues versus expenditures and, unless other revenue sources are identified, will add to the cost-cutting measures that will be required to balance the budget.