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Enrollment drops 800 in public schools
Drop could hurt budget, funding
Judy Scherer
Dr. Judy Scherer - photo by Courier file photo
Although talk around Liberty County recently has centered on expected growth in the area, enrollment in schools this year is down by about 800 students, which is roughly 8 percent.
Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer said she doesn’t know what caused the plunge, which she described as atypical.
“The drop in enrollment is across all grade levels and at all schools. It is not normal to see
fluctuations this large and we are not sure why we have this large of a drop,” she said. “One can only assume that we simply do not have as many families living in Liberty County.”
Before this year, Scherer said the LCSS’s enrollment had been on a declining slope but not to this extent.
“It’s been very slight, about 500 students in the past five years, so when you lose 800 in one year, it’s starts to become a bit of a problem,” Scherer said.
The major problem, she said, will come in state funding, which is based on student numbers. Scherer isn’t sure yet how much the school system’s funding will decrease and she said she won’t know until mid-March when the state finishes mid-term adjustments. But she knows it’s coming.
“We’ll get a decrease in money [from the state],” she said.
Dana Tofig, director of communications with The Georgia Department of Education, said he doesn’t know yet if Liberty’s enrollment numbers are inline with statewide trends.
“We really don’t have a sense of things right now,” Tofig said. “We’ll know more about the numbers in early or late October.”
Scherer said in recent meetings with Fort Stewart garrison commander Col. Todd Milton, he’s indicated that a small number of soldiers will be coming to the area, but that it may not be enough to make up for the enrollment dip.
“We know we will pick up some more students but not nearly this many unless there is a significant increase in the number of soldiers at Fort Stewart,” she said. “Col. Milton indicated that will not happen in the next year.”
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