Chilton County Schools sees student increase

Published 4:32 pm Thursday, September 15, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

Chilton County Schools saw an increase in enrollment this year with the average daily membership, students who are on the roll, for the first 20 days being 7,488 in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Superintendent Jason Griffin said this is the number that will be used by the state to determine the funding that the school system will receive next fiscal year.

He compared this to last school year, which had 7,348 as the average daily membership. In the 2019-2020 school year before the COVID-19 pandemic, the school system had 7,534.

“If you look at those numbers, you can basically make an assumption that it looks like students are coming back in the building after the COVID crisis,” Griffin said.

Griffin thinks some students whose parents chose other school options because of pandemic concerns have returned to the school system.

A steady growth in kindergarten enrollment has also contributed to the increase in the number of students in the school system, Griffin said.

Each of the schools in the system have seen an increase. The Chilton County Board of Education will be using class size reduction funding to reduce class size at Thorsby, Maplesville and Verbena schools in elementary grades.

Building projects have kept the school system from being overcrowded. However, Griffin said “we are at capacity at most of our schools.”

Classroom additions are in the construction phase at Chilton County High School and Isabella High School, and a band room is being constructed at Jemison High School.

“If the growth continues, there will have to be some consideration for additional building projects,” Griffin said.

During the first 20 days of school, 7,138 was the average for students actually in class each day.

Clanton Elementary School has the largest number of students with 877.

The school system had an additional 326 students in its preschool program. Each of the elementary schools have at least one preschool class with a few having multiple classes.

The schools in Clanton have a total of 2,900 students, including preschool. Jemison is closing in on this number at 2,525 students, including preschool.

“Clanton and Jemison are starting to become closer in student population then they ever have,” Griffin said.