Collectively, seven school districts in Cherokee County posted a marginal increase in enrollment in 2012, compared to this time last year.
Overall in the county, the number rose by 97, from 11,797 enrolled in 2011 to 11,894 in 2012.
Jacksonville ISD, the largest district in the county, showed a dip in enrollment this year, at 4,882, compared to 4,948 in 2011. Marc McCloud, district public information officer, said the decrease of 66 students might be from having to drop a full-day kindergarten program to a half-day program because of a loss in state funding.
“That was one area we had to cut back on” in the 4A school's pre-K through 12 program school, he said.
Meanwhile, school districts in Rusk, Bullard and Troup show increased enrollment over the past year.
Lesa Jones, Rusk ISD assistant superintendent of finance and operations at the 3A school, said there was an increase of 63 students district-wide, rising from 2,175 in 2011 posted at the end of the fourth week, to 2,238 this year for the same period. She said there was no real explanation for the increase in numbers, though she did point out that some grades had larger number of students than in the past. The Rusk program offers an early education program in addition to its regular program.
In Bullard, the local 3A school district last year posted a first-day enrollment of 2,132, but this year, the number rose by 53 to 2,185 during the same reporting period at the pre-K through 12th grade program, said Linda Howland, secretary to the superintendent, who attributed the increase to the fact that Bullard is a rapidly growing community.
Troup ISD's enrollment increased from 1,051 this time last year, to 1,119 this year, posting a gain of 68 students.
“People seem to be moving into our district, because we've seen overall growth at all three campuses. But we're really seeing it at our high school, where enrollment jumped from 249 last year to 322 this year,” said Cindy Tidwell, the district's TEIMS coordinator. The Troup district also offers a Head Start program, Tidwell said.
Officials in New Summerfield and Wells said numbers at their 1A school districts are holding steady.
This year, enrollment at New Summerfield ISD is 495, compared to 491 this time last year, while at Wells ISD, enrollment is 327 this year compared to 332 last year. Both districts offer a pre-K through 12 program.
Smaller class sizes this year at Alto ISD are the contributing factor to a lowered enrollment, according to school officials. In 2012, the 1A school showed a first-day enrollment of 648, compared to 668 last year, a loss of 20 students in the pre-K through 12 program.