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Schools see enrollment numbers slide

COVINGTON -- Many Newton County schools are seeing highs and lows in enrollment this month.

Overall, enrollment in the Newton County School System is up by 251 students, to 19,498 total, compared to last year about this time, but it is down 125 students from last month, according to the Dec. 10 enrollment report.

"It's difficult to explain," said Dr. Linda Hayden, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction at NCSS during the Newton County Board of Education's monthly meeting last Tuesday. "We have had much movement in the district."

At the elementary schools, enrollment is down 49 from last month and 167 from last school year.

Most elementary schools are hovering between a 2- to 11-student change over the past month, but some are seeing higher numbers. At Live Oak Elementary, enrollment is down 18 from last month to 1,004 total students, and at Heard-Mixon Elementary, enrollment is down 14 to 494, while at Rocky Plains Elementary, enrollment is up 15 to 980 students.

Middle school enrollment in the school system is down 36 from last month, but up 164 from last school year.

Liberty Middle School saw a drop of 22 students to 1,176 total students from last month, while the other schools saw a change of under 10 students each.

This month, the county's three high schools saw the biggest drop -- 60 students total.

Alcovy and Eastside high schools saw a drop of 11 and 18, respectively, but Newton High saw a drop of 31 students, although it is up 108 students to 2,160 total students from last school year.

"I think the economy has a big factor in this," Hayden said about the change in enrollment figures.

Families are becoming more transient, moving to and from schools and school districts, but some older students also may be leaving schools because of bad grades near the end of a semester, she said.

"Of course we encourage them to stay in school," she said. "But we do have some who will pull out at the last minute."