CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- Hamilton County schools 20th-day enrollment figures released on Friday should have minimal effect on classroom staffing. For the first time in several years, there was a decrease in the year-to-year comparison after twenty days of school.
The drop is slight: from 42,705 to 42,673, a decrease of only 32 students. However there were sizable gains from year-to-year in 2011 and 2012. Also, with two new high-capacity schools (Red Bank Middle and Ooltewah Elementary) some believed system wide numbers would be up.
Of particular concern to some school officials is the fact that about six percent of students (2,638) enrolled after the first day of school. The school year began August 8, and officials say some parents simply aren't ready to enroll their children, having been accustomed to later start dates in the past.
The largest overall drop was in the high school category, with 170 fewer students than last year: 11,944 to 11,774. Middle schools were up 145 (9,625 to 9,770) and elementary schools enrollment decreased by 7 (21,136 to 21,129).
The new Ooltewah Elementary, gaining students from the recently closed Birchwood school, as well as from the rezoned Snow Hill, had the biggest increase, going from 506 to 792 students. The Chattanooga School for Charter Excellence, in its third year of existence, also showed a large enrollment increase, growing from 270 to 328 students. Orchard Knob Elementary grew from 523 to 575 students.
Smith Elementary dropped from 829 to 731, Snow Hill's enrollment fell from 577 to 500, and Hardy Elementary is down 43 students, from 452 to 409.
In middle schools, Ooltewah Middle is now the county's largest, increasing from 766 to 863. Sale Creek was the second biggest gainer, going from 222 to 270. Orchard Knob Middle increased from 393 to 439. East Hamilton Middle, which has been rezoned to reduce overcrowding, dropped from 796 to 743. Soddy-Daisy Middle fell from 607 to 538.
The STEM High School, now in its second year, saw the highest increase among county high schools, growing from 73 to 132. Hixson High also grew, from 858 to 909. Sale Creek High increased from 239 to 280 students.
Soddy-Daisy High is down 93 students from 1343 to 1250, Howard High is down from 624 to 561, and Brainerd dropped from 643 to 586.
The 20th day enrollment determines the amount of state funding that local schools will receive.
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