CCS sees increase in enrollment

Published 1:20 pm Monday, September 9, 2019

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By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Chilton County Schools enrollment for the 2019 school year shows an increase in students.

There are 7,877 students enrolled, including the First Class Pre-K classes. Last school year, there were 7,688 students.

“We are up significantly,” Chilton County Schools Superintendent Jason Griffin said.

Griffin said an increase in preschool classrooms accounted for part of the increase. One new classroom in this state preschool program has been added for this school year at Maplesville, Verbena, Isabella and Thorsby meaning there were 72 more spots available.

Griffin said some of the preschool students have simply switched schools.

“We have increased the opportunities so our overall numbers have increased, but the numbers of students in the classroom (compared to last year) have either leveled out or declined,” Griffin said.

Having more classrooms has given parents an option closer to where they live.

Increases were seen at Maplesville, Isabella, Thorsby and Jemison High Schools, Clanton Elementary, Clanton Middle School and Jemison Elementary School.

Griffin said allowing out-of-county students to enroll at Maplesville and “just pure population growth at Clanton and in Jemison” contributed to the increase in students.

“I would really be surprised if in the next couple of years, we don’t hit 8,000 students,” Griffin said.

Because funding for this school year is based on last year’s numbers, the school system is looking for ways to reduce class size at some Maplesville and Thorsby. Title II federal funding has been used for this in the past. However, all of the classrooms in kindergarten through sixth grade have less than 35 students.

“With the economic development that appears to be coming our way it is going to keep growing. We are in the planning stages for a long-term growth plan to accommodate,” Griffin said.

When looking at enrollment numbers, Griffin said he looks closely as the Clanton and Jemison numbers because the elementary and intermediate schools can be an indicator for the numbers that will soon be seen at the middle and high school level. The combined enrollment for the four Clanton schools is 2,996. The four Jemison schools have a combined total of 2,335.