published Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Hamilton County high school enrollment up; middle, elementary school numbers down

FIRST-DAY ENROLLMENT HISTORY

School year -- 11/12 -- 12/13 -- 13/14 -- 14/15 -- Comparison to Last Year

Grand total high schools -- 11,090 -- 11,265 -- 10,898 -- 11,211 -- +313

Grand total middle schools -- 8,764 -- 9,020 -- 9,114 -- 9,021 -- -93

Grand total elementary schools -- 19,611 -- 20,070 -- 20,023 -- 19,939 -- -84

Grand total all schools -- 39,465 -- 40,355 -- 40,035 -- 40,171 -- +136

Elementary schools where enrollment increased

• East Ridge 84

• East Lake 69

• Hardy 61

• Chattanooga Charter School of Excellence 58

• Allen 46

Elementary schools where enrollment declined

• Clifton Hills -94

• Brown Academy -82

• Smith -79

• Rivermont -75

• Lakeside -44

Middle schools with increased enrollment

• Hunter 61

• Virtual 27

• CGLA 25

• East Hamilton Middle 22

• East Lake 17

Middle schools with decreased enrollment

• Ooltewah -68

• Brown -54

• Soddy-Daisy -40

• Loftis -24

• Dalewood -22

High schools with increased enrollment

• Ooltewah 167

Howard 107

• Tyner Academy 106

• STEM High School 60

• Sale Creek 38

High schools with decreased enrollment

• Sequoyah -59

• Hixson -50

• Brainerd -42

• East Ridge -31

• Soddy-Daisy -19

Source: Hamilton County Schools

School enrollment should jump in Hamilton County once Chattanooga’s Volkswagen assembly plant starts building VW’s new sport utility vehicle, schools Superintendent Rick Smith said.

For the time being, though — not so much.

First-day enrollment numbers from Thursday show that 40,171 students attended Hamilton County public schools — an increase of 136 students from last year’s first-day enrollment of 40,035 students. The increase is about one-third of 1 percent.

“This year’s not going to be a great growth year,” Smith said. “I think we’ll see that [jump] in a couple years.”

The district’s high school enrollment is up by 313 students from last year’s first day of school. Meanwhile, middle school enrollment is down 93 students and elementary school enrollment is down 84 students from last year, district figures show.

However, school officials caution that first-day enrollment figures can change a lot. Last year, for example, some 2,000 additional students showed up, districtwide, between the first and fifth school days.

“It kind of gives us a starting point,” Smith said.

Students may have moved over the summer without notifying their schools, he said. A number of parents won’t send their kids to school before Labor Day, school officials say.

The district compiles attendance figures on the first, fifth, seventh, 15th and 20th school days. State funding is based on attendance on the second, third, sixth and seventh 20-day school periods.

Red Bank High School had 671 students enrolled on the first day of school — one fewer than last year.

“We’ve basically flat-lined with where we were,” Principal Justin Robertson said.

He thinks enrollment could increase by 25 to 50 students once the school year gets going.

Meanwhile, one wing of Red Bank High School with nine classrooms has malfunctioning air-conditioning.

“We do have a wing that has been not as cool as we would like it,” Robertson said.

But he doesn’t think that’s keeping students away.

“It’s not that bad,” Robertson said.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or twitter.com/TimOmarzu or 423-757-6651.

  • photo
    The entrance to the offices of the Hamilton County Department of Education headquarters.
    Photo by John Rawlston.
    enlarge photo

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.

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