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VITAL Enrollment Down In Putnam, Elementary Capacity Spread Out Across System

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
VITAL Enrollment Down In Putnam, Elementary Capacity Spread Out Across System

The biggest change in the Putnam County Schools’ enrollment through the first month of the school year, home schooled students and students enrolled through the VITAL program.

Attendance Supervisor Chris Pierce reported to the School Board Thursday night. Pierce said roughly 248 fewer students had enrolled systemwide to begin the year, a decrease of 2.5 percent.

“Vital enrollment was down by about 195 kids from the same point last year,” Pierce said. “And generally speaking, these 195 kids are characterized by elementary school, home school families who utilize the district’s chosen online curriculum and are not in a regular classroom in a building. Some of these families have chosen just to go another way with their enrollments this year.”

Pierce said the system has already received 198 letters of intent to home school in the first month of the school year. That number was 255 for the entire academic year last year. Pierce said that is a trend that will need to be watched.

Total enrollment as of Wednesday totaled 11,826 students pre-k through 12. Three elementary schools have just reached the 90 percent capacity mark: Prescott, Capshaw and Jere Whitson. Upperman High School’s capacity currently stands at 108 percent.

Class sizes average 19.2, Pierce said, well within the state range of 20.49.

“The student-teacher ratios in buildings for compliance, overall, they look good, and they’re very spread out in elementary schools,” Pierce said. “More spread out evenly than in years past. As of now, all grade bands in the schools are within student teacher ratio mandates.”

Pre-K enrollment currently stands at 496 students. Pierce said he expects that number to rise after September 15 when the program opens to families who are not income eligible.

“At the end of last school year in pre-K, we ended the year with a little over 600 kids in that program,” Pierce said. “So we’re going to gain, I feel confident we’re going to gain quite a few kids in pre K before the year is out, and probably even before Christmas.”

Pierce said enrollment usually climbs through the fall, peaking in December.

“We knew that VITAL was going to take a hit,” Director Of Schools Corby King said. “If we take that out of the equation, there’s very little change, really. So that’s important to remember. There’s really not a lot of change from last year.”


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