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RCPS student enrollment continues to drop

CONYERS - Rockdale County Public Schools has experienced a significant drop in enrollment since the first day of the school year, and it continues to see an overall decrease in its student population with each 20-day count.

During the Rockdale County Board of Education work session earlier this month, RCPS officials reported another overall drop of dozens of students from the last 20-day count. Between Day 120 of the 2008-09 school year, Feb. 25, and Day 140 of the school year, March 26, the school system saw a decrease of 50 students, from 15,657 to 15,607.

Although schools officials don't know yet exactly what's happening to all of these students, it's not a unique situation.

"(Enrollment) is down everywhere," said Lee Davis, chief financial officer at RCPS. "It's not like this is a aberration to Rockdale County."

This most recent drop comes immediately after the previous 20-day drop of 79 students and an overall drop of 202 students from the beginning of the school year.

"We are 12 students less than last year's 140-day count and 130 behind when we started last year," Davis said.

The current enrollment figures show 509 fewer students than projected at the beginning of the school year.

Most of the decrease in student enrollment are in the high schools.

Over the last 20-day count, Heritage and Salem high schools both saw a 31-student drop and Rockdale County High School saw a 13-student drop.

Although RCPS has not calculated its graduation rate yet for the school year, this does not necessarily mean all of those high school students are dropping out, school officials pointed out. Some could be moving within the school district or to other districts.

"We think it's related to the economy," Davis said. "If people can't find a job, they'll go somewhere else to find a job."

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.