Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

September 16, 2013

Enrollment up in area schools

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — With few exceptions, Navarro County school districts grew this school year. What that means is more teachers needed and the districts will get more money from the state, although not for a full year.

Corsicana ISD grew to just under 6,000 students, to 5,955. Last year at this time, CISD had 5,891 students.

Those 64 new kids mean at least a few new teachers and classrooms will be needed. Teachers are being sought now for Navarro and Fannin elementary schools, according to Superintendent Diane Frost.

“Since there are no plans to expand our facilities, we will look into additional portable buildings for multiple campuses,” Frost said.  “I commend our teachers and staff who spent many hours, days and weeks preparing for our students. After the summer preparations, it's nice to have our campuses full of students again.”

The bond election CISD held last year was based on having about 60 new students each year. It did not pass the voters.

In Blooming Grove, the district got about 35 new students, bringing the total to 837, up from about 796 last year, according to Superintendent Jimmie Malone.

The district knew the kids were coming, so did some hiring over the summer, although some of the new teachers hired were replacements of teachers who moved on, Malone said.

“We hired five new teachers, some by attrition, some through retirement,” he said. “We honestly had people calling out here wanting to know if we had any vacancies. We got five great people. I’m excited about them.”

Each student represents just under $5,000 in additional state aid to the school district per year, but the district won’t get that additional money until next year.

“We’ll be underpaid this budget year and then we’ll settle up next year,” Malone said. “That’s a considerable increase in state aid.”

Last year, Dawson ISD averaged 424 kids per day, and after a week of school, Dawson ISD has 463 students, a big bump for a small district.

“We’re thrilled to have them,” said Superintendent Jimmie Malone. “We had a few transfers and quite a few move-ins. Our student-to-teacher ratio was very small to begin with, and we haven’t had to hire additional personnel — and we still have a relatively small student-teacher ratio.”

The largest grade at Dawson is fifth grade, with 38 students and two teachers, meaning the student-teacher ratio is 19:1, Malone said.

Frost ISD averaged 380 students last year and this year is already at 430 students, according to Superintendent Jim Revill.

There had been a trend upwards at the end of last year, Revill said.

“We finished the year with 405,” he said. “Of course some of those are pre-K, so some of them only count a half, so it’s a little misleading.”

The district did add some new teachers, but just to replace those who were retiring or moving, Revill said.

“One retired after 42 years, one moved home to West because she said ‘life’s too short.’ We replaced about five teachers, which for us is unreal. We’ve never lost as many as we lost last year.”

Rice ISD ended the school year with 885 students, and started this year with 927, or an increase of about 40 students, according to Assistant Superintendent Larry Baer.

“Kids drive it,” he said. “This is a good thing in our business.”

Aware of the increase, Rice did add some teachers this fall, Baer said.

“We expected it because we have been growing over the last several years,” he said. “We felt like we’d be looking at it, so we added some teachers in areas where we were getting crowded.”

Kerens and Mildred were the only two districts that lost students, instead of gaining them.

Kerens is down by 32 students this year, a 5 percent drop in headcount.

“Our enrollment has declined in recent years, but this is the biggest single downward jump,” said Superintendent Kevin Stanford. “It does affect our state funding, and that’s never good. When we calculate our budget we try to be conservative on Average Daily Attendance, but we weren’t 32-kids conservative. But we’ll find a way.”

Mildred lost about five kids since the end of last year, down to 714, according to Superintendent Becky Burns.

“Before school started we were up, but we’ve had a bunch of kids move since then,” she said.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached by email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” to this article? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com