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NCSS says enrollment up slightly
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Officials with Newton County Schools say the school system has seen a slight enrollment increase that may lead to more funding in the future.

At the Newton County Board of Education’s Tuesday work session, Craig Lockhart, NCSS deputy superintendent of schools, said that as of Sept. 5, the school system had added 339 students. Lockhart said 19,418 students are enrolled in Newton County Schools; at this time last year, 19,142 students were enrolled.

This year, the school system has 9,598 students enrolled at its 14 elementary schools; 4,516 students in its five middle schools; and 5,275 students in its three high schools. In addition, 92 students are enrolled at Ombudsman, the school system’s alternative school.

BOE member Eddie Johnson asked NCSS business manager Peggy Bullard if and when the increased enrollment would hit the school system’s bottom line.

Bullard said last spring, the state made a midterm adjustment that resulted in an additional $900,000 for the NCSS.

According to the state Department of Education, the Quality Basic Education (QBE) Act requires local school systems to report student enrollment in terms of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) students. State funding for instructional programs is generated based on that FTE data.

Bullard explained in an email Friday that as the QBE formula earnings for the current school year are calculated based on FTE counts for the prior school year, a recalculation of QBE earnings is done after the October QBE count.

She said the General Assembly must then approve any additional allocations to school systems in an amended state budget.

“It is usually March before we know for sure that we will receive additional funds,” Bullard said. “The funds are usually paid to us in monthly installments in April through June.”

At the work session, When Johnson asked Lockhart if the district could pinpoint where the enrollment increase was coming from, Lockhart said new students are enrolling around the county.

“You have people who are transitioning in for a variety of reasons,” Lockhart said. “At one school, for example, an elementary school that has had stagnant enrollment for a very long time, they are just growing. And so people are coming in from all over. It’s a good thing.”

In addition to the enrollment report, Lockhart also gave the Board documents reporting the average class sizes for all schools, which will be discussed at the Board’s Tuesday, Sept. 17, meeting at 7 p.m.