As the 2019-20 school year settles into its groove, administrators at Polk County’s six school districts are reporting increases in student enrollment from the previous and current school year.
Total student enrollment at the Bolivar R-1 School District has increased this year, according to R-1 Superintendent Tony Berry. The 2018-19 school year had a total enrollment of 2,629 students, while the 2019-20 school year has a total enrollment of 2,868 students, he said.
Berry said there was information that gave “a lot of indicators the enrollment should be increasing.”
“We were witnessing a decline in enrollment,” he said. “However, we analyzed the home sales in our district, the increase in employment opportunities and the emphasis the community places on early childhood education.”
He said the ninth grade class is the largest in the district with 225 students, followed by the kindergarten class with 223.
“A key indicator for the kindergarten (class) was an increase in our pre-K numbers by 20 students. This year’s pre-K numbers are the same, so we expect another large class next year, as well,” he said.
Previous BH-FP coverage said the 2017-18 school year’s enrollment of 2,661 students was down slightly from 2,693 students in the 2016-17 school year.
Fair Play R-2
The Fair Play R-2 School District has seen a decline in enrollment.
R-2 Superintendent Renee Sagaser said the district has 330 students this year, which is down “20 students from last year.”
She said elementary is up in enrollment, and high school is down.
“That is a good sign because if you’re growing in elementary numbers, it is an indication you will continue to increase,” she said.
According to previous BH-FP coverage, the 2017-18 school year saw a decline in enrollment, as well. That year, there were 322 students in grades K-12 and 18 preschool students, compared to 2016-17’s 341 students and 18 preschool students.
Enrollment for the Halfway R-3 School District has increased this year, with 254 students for the 2019-20 school year, compared to the 2018-19 first day enrollment of 242 students, according to R-3 Superintendent Lance Roweton.
“From last year to this year, we have seen an increase in enrollment,” Roweton said.
However, he said, the overall trend has been a decline in enrollment the last five years.
“We had 263 students five years ago,” he said.
The 2017-18 school year saw an enrollment of 257 students, and the 2016-17 school year saw an enrollment of 266 students, according to previous BH-FP coverage.
The Humansville R-4 School District also saw an increase in student enrollment, with 354 students enrolled in the 2019-20 school year, and 351 students enrolled in the 2018-19 school year, according to R-4 Superintendent Tammy Erwin.
She said fifth grade is the biggest class, and first grade is the smallest class.
Previous BH-FP coverage shows the 2017-18 school year saw a slight decrease in students, with 370 students total compared to 2016-17’s 386 students.
Marion C. Early R-5
Enrollment for the Marion C. Early School District has been down the past two years.
The 2018-19 school year started with 547 total students and ended with 520, and the 2019-20 school year started with 530 total students, according to R-5 Superintendent Josh Angel.
“Marion C. Early is experiencing a steady decrease in enrollment over the past five years,” Angel said.
That notion supports previous BH-FP coverage, which showed 578 students enrolled in the 2017-18 school year, compared to 2016-17’s enrollment of 581 total students.
Pleasant Hope R-6
Enrollment for the Pleasant Hope R-6 school stands at 775 for the 2019-20 school year, according to R-6 Superintendent Kelly Lowe.
“This has been the first year in six years that our enrollment has not dropped from the previous year,” Lowe said.
He said he had no concrete answer as to why the enrollment continued to drop other than his personal speculation of ‘lack of job opportunities’ in Pleasant Hope.
Previous BH-FP coverage showed an enrollment of 764 students for the 2017-18 school year, compared to 772 students in 2016-17.
Polk County Christian School
The BH-FP reached out to Polk County Christian School for comment, but no response had been received as of press time Tuesday, Sept. 17.