Schools see increase in enrollment
Boost not as big as predicted

COVINGTON - Already the Newton County School System is seeing an increase in enrollment since the end of last school year, although it is not yet as high as predicted.

According to a Day 5 enrollment count, 19,226 students are enrolled in Newton County's public school system, which includes 14 elementary schools, five middle schools, three high schools and three other speciality schools.

At the end of the 2008-09 school year, 19,091 students were enrolled, up from the 18,813 who were enrolled on the first day of the school year, but below the projected 19,452.

This school year, officials projected that 19,942 students would enroll in NCSS. And that's possible, although NCSS Superintendent Steven Whatley said there is a lot of movement both in and out of the schools.

"New students are still coming in, so we'll see enrollment numbers change and probably not stabilize until after Labor Day," said Dr. Linda Hayden, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction at NCSS.

So far, 9,545 students are enrolled in the elementary schools. The highest enrollment is 960 at the new Live Oak Elementary School. School officials projected 9,625 elementary students would enroll this year, in comparison to the 9,684 enrolled at the end of last school year.

In the middle schools, 4,317 students were enrolled as of Day 5 of the 2009-10 school year. Nearly 4,500 are projected for this school year, although 4,295 were enrolled on the last day of the last school year.

The high schools have 5,162 students enrolled in three facilities. The number is under the 5,357 projected and more than the 4,777 seen on the last day of school during the 2008-09 school year.

Also on Day 5, Sharp Learning Center saw 87 students, less than the projected 175 and down from the year-end 213. Mainstay Academy had 23 students enrolled, up from the projected enrollment and year-end totals of 13. Challenge Charter Academy enrolled 92 students, down from the year-end 109 but up from the projected 75.

Dennis Carpenter, deputy superintendent for operations at NCSS, said schools are monitoring daily their student enrollment and staff to make sure they comply with class size rules and determine if they need additional staff members.

"We are monitoring all class sizes and will continue to make determinations on necessary adjustments," he said in a report to the Newton County Board of Education Tuesday. "In an effort to be fiscally responsible, we are working diligently to keep any costs of additional personnel to a minimum, thus necessitating the transfers of teachers as state class size guidelines will allow."

By Michelle Floyd

Staff Reporter

COVINGTON - At least 64 more students in the Newton County School System will transfer from their assigned school to another Newton County public school of their choice as a result of the federal No Child Left Behind Public School Choice program. This is in addition to the 491 who previously transferred.

As of Monday, the Newton County School System approved 41 students to transfer from Liberty Middle School to either Clements Theme School or Cousins Middle School and 23 students to transfer from Middle Ridge Elementary School to East Newton or Heard-Mixon elementary schools, according to Dr. Linda Hayden, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction at NCSS.

The deadline to apply for school choice was July 29.

These students are in addition to the 491 students who transferred from Middle Ridge Elementary School and Clements Middle School, which now is Liberty Middle School, last school year as a result of the school choice option. Those students also may attend Indian Creek or Veterans Memorial middle schools and Livingston and Ficquett elementary schools.

Schools that do not meet Adequate Yearly Progress in the same categories for two consecutive school years must offer a school choice; and until the school meets AYP for two years, they must offer a school choice.

Unlike in the past, NCSS is not providing bus transportation for the choice students this school year. Instead, parents must complete a form for reimbursement at a state-approved rate for mileage to and from the choice school, as allowed under NCLB. The amount of payment is determined by the student's attendance.

Earlier this year, NCSS approved three students to transfer to another school of their choice under House Bill 251, or the Quality Basic Education Act.

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

SideBar: Newton Enrollment

School/Projection/Day 5 Enrollment

East Newton Elementary/648/625

Fairview Elementary/655/679

Ficquett Elementary/664/777

Heard-Mixon Elementary/503/495

Live Oak Elementary/965/960

Livingston Elementary/628/591

Mansfield Elementary/512/517

Middle Ridge Elementary/617/551

Oak Hill Elementary/737/701

Palmer Stone Elementary/713/690

Porterdale Elementary/431/452

Rocky Plains Elementary/934/933

South Salem Elementary/793/824

West Newton Elementary/825/750

Clements Middle/309/300

Cousins Middle/950/721

Indian Creek Middle/1,168/1,113

Liberty Middle/864/1,139

Veterans Middle/1,206/1,044

Alcovy High/1,731/1,584

Eastside High/1,450/1,418

Newton High/2,176/2,160

Sharp Learning Center/175/87

Mainstay Academy/13/23

Charter Challenge/75/92

Source: Newton County School System/