NCSS says en­roll­ment up slightly

The Covington News - - THE SECOND FRONT - DANIELLE EVER­SON de­v­er­son@cov­

Of­fi­cials with New­ton County Schools say the school sys­tem has seen a slight en­roll­ment in­crease that may lead to more fund­ing in the fu­ture.

At the New­ton County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion’s Tues­day work ses­sion, Craig Lock­hart, NCSS deputy su­per­in­ten­dent of schools, said that as of Sept. 5, the school sys­tem had added 339 stu­dents. Lock­hart said 19,418 stu­dents are en­rolled in New­ton County Schools; at this time last year, 19,142 stu­dents were en­rolled.

This year, the school sys­tem has 9,598 stu­dents en­rolled at its 14 el­e­men­tary schools; 4,516 stu­dents in its five mid­dle schools; and 5,275 stu­dents in its three high schools. In ad­di­tion, 92 stu­dents are en­rolled at Om­buds­man, the school sys­tem’s al­ter­na­tive school.

BOE mem­ber Ed­die John­son asked NCSS busi­ness man­ager Peggy Bullard if and when the in­creased en­roll­ment would hit the school sys­tem’s bot­tom line.

Bullard said last spring, the state made a midterm ad­just­ment that re­sulted in an ad­di­tional $900,000 for the NCSS.

Ac­cord­ing to the state Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, the Qual­ity Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion (QBE) Act re­quires lo­cal school sys­tems to re­port stu­dent en­roll­ment in terms of Full-Time Equiv­a­lent (FTE) stu­dents. State fund­ing for in­struc­tional pro­grams is gen­er­ated based on that FTE data.

Bullard ex­plained in an email Fri­day that as the QBE for­mula earn­ings for the cur­rent school year are cal­cu­lated based on FTE counts for the prior school year, a re­cal­cu­la­tion of QBE earn­ings is done af­ter the Oc­to­ber QBE count.

She said the Gen­eral Assem­bly must then ap­prove any ad­di­tional al­lo­ca­tions to school sys­tems in an amended state bud­get.

“It is usu­ally March be­fore we know for sure that we will re­ceive ad­di­tional funds,” Bullard said. “The funds are usu­ally paid to us in monthly in­stall­ments in April through June.”

At the work ses­sion, When John­son asked Lock­hart if the dis­trict could pin­point where the en­roll­ment in­crease was com­ing from, Lock­hart said new stu­dents are en­rolling around the county.

“You have peo­ple who are tran­si­tion­ing in for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons,” Lock­hart said. “At one school, for ex­am­ple, an el­e­men­tary school that has had stag­nant en­roll­ment for a very long time, they are just grow­ing. And so peo­ple are com­ing in from all over. It’s a good thing.”

In ad­di­tion to the en­roll­ment re­port, Lock­hart also gave the Board doc­u­ments re­port­ing the aver­age class sizes for all schools, which will be dis­cussed at the Board’s Tues­day, Sept. 17, meet­ing at 7 p.m.

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