Enrollment down for CCS

Published 4:26 pm Thursday, September 28, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Enrollment for Chilton County Schools decreased slightly this year.

In the first month of school in 2016, 7,762 students were enrolled in the school system. In the first month of school in 2017, there were 7,675 students enrolled.

Chilton County Schools Superintendent Tommy Glasscock said the overall numbers are not too concerning.

Glasscock said the school system has averaged 7,000 and above since 2012. He said he thinks with the impact of the opening of St. Vincent’s Chilton, industries coming to the industrial park in the future will bring more students to Chilton County Schools.

“We are going to see an increase, and it is an immediate need to see how we are going to handle that growth,” Glasscock said.

He said the county’s central location will also contribute to growth in the future.

Overall there are fewer students, but some individual schools have seen growth. This is probably from students simply moving from one school to another, since students are permitted to attend any school in the county , regardless of which community they live in. Glasscock said parents are responsible for transportation for students attending a school outside their community.

An increase in students in Jemison schools in recent years prompted the opening of Jemison Intermediate School this year for fourth to sixth grades. Jemison students in grades seventh and eighth moved to a new building for Jemison Middle School.

The four Jemison Schools had a combined enrollment of 2,345, compared to 2,367 across the same grades in 2016.

Clanton Intermediate had an increase in enrollment from 626 students in 2016 to 662 students in 2017.

Isabella High School saw an increase in students from 696 in 2016 to 715 in 2017.

Glasscock said it was interesting to see the increase at Isabella, while Maplesville High School has decreased in enrollment.

In 2016, there were 433 students at Maplesville during the first month of school. This year there were 410.

“We have real concerns about that,” Glasscock said.

He said he was interested in researching why students choose the high school they do.

“We are looking at that to see how many students might be going past high school X to go to high school Y,” Glasscock said.

He said all of the education options available to parents now has created a competitive market.

“I think if we are going to survive in a world of competitive education, then each school needs to have its niche,” Glasscock said.

Marketing what a school has to offer could be a way to increase enrollment.

Glasscock said Chilton County High School has grown in the past necessitating portable classrooms and making the school is 6A in sports. The numbers for the first month of this school year show 804 students enrolled compared to 836 in 2016 during the same time period.

Students who attend a different high school for a portion of the day to attend specific classes are not counted in that school’s enrollment. These students are included in the enrollment of the school where they attend the majority of their classes.

Decreases in enrollment can mean less funding to the schools. Two of the Chilton County K-12 schools lost state funding for a teaching position this year due to last year’s enrollment numbers.

Preschool students at Clanton and Jemison elementary schools are included in enrollment numbers. Glasscock said state preschool classrooms have brought teachers to schools, but no funding for administrative costs