NCSS reports slight increase in enrollment

COVINGTON — Enrollment in Newton County public schools continues to increase. Craig Lockhart, deputy superintendent of schools for the Newton County School System, presented the enrollment report as of Sept. 5 on Tuesday to the Newton County Board of Education.

“By providing this information to the board monthly, we are able to see if enrollment is on the rise or if it is declining,” Lockhart said in an email response on Thursday. “To some degree, it hints at the future outlook of the local economy.”

Lockhart explained that the state and federal governments allocate funds to NCSS based upon student enrollment. For example, he said, student enrollment projects the number of teachers in a building, the amount of resources a school has, and the need for building new schools or downsizing schools in the district, he said.

Peggy Bullard, business manager for NCSS, said during Tuesday’s work session that increases in enrollment in the 2012-13 school year resulted in a $900,000 midyear budget adjustment.

Based on the figures provided by Lockhart Tuesday, the total enrollment in the county’s 22 schools plus Ombudsman was 19,481 as of Sept. 5. Of that, 9,598 students were enrolled in the 14 elementary schools; 4,516 were enrolled in the county’s five middle schools and 5,275 students in Alcovy, Eastside and Newton high schools.

The current figures represent slightly more than a 2 percent increase since the end of the 2012-13 school year when total enrollment was 19,056.

Lockhart told board members that the increases in enrollment were spread across the grade levels and the schools. High school and middle school enrollment increased some since the end of last school year; elementary enrollment dipped slightly.

Looking at enrollment in September 2012, which was reported at 19,142 systemwide, enrollment is up this year across the board.

Board members were also provided average class sizes for all the schools and are expected to discuss the figures in more detail during the BOE regular meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17.