published Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Enrollment surge meets Hamilton County Schools projection

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    Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith speaks to the media in this file photo.
    Photo by Jenna Walker.
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Hamilton County Schools counted 425 more students on the 10th day of school this year when compared with the same time last year.

Superintendent Rick Smith told Hamilton County school board members Tuesday evening that 10th-day figures show a systemwide head count of 42,009, up from last year's 10th-day enrollment of 41,584.

Those figures include a 271 increase in elementary schools; a 251 increase in middle schools; and a loss of 97 high school students. Smith said he expects to see more high schoolers trickling back into the system within the coming days.

He said administrators estimated and planned for a 500-student gain during planning last spring.

"We're right on with what we projected," he said. "So at this time, we're not requesting additional staff."

Still, the school district will shuffle 22 elementary teachers and five middle and high school teachers, said Stacy Stewart, assistant superintendent for human resources. She said the transfers will occur systemwide.

"It is across the board," she said. "If you think about it, it's 22 gains and 22 losses, so you're affecting about 40 elementary schools. Just about every school is impacted one way or another."

In addition to teacher transfers, the district will hire about five additional teachers to fill vacancies, Stewart said.

Smith said 19 school buses are overcrowded, which also occurred last year. He said for the most part, the first few weeks of school have been successful.

"We feel like we had a good start," he said. "We feel like the last two weeks have been very positive."

In other business, the school board:

* Approved Signal Mountain Middle/High School student Zack Bowman to build dugouts at the school's softball field as his senior project. The contractor, Bryan Glasscock, will oversee the project and cover all costs, including insurance and worker's compensation.

* Recognized the following Junior ROTC winners from last May's Armed Forces Parade marching competition: first place, Soddy-Daisy High School; second place, Red Bank High School; third place, Hixson High School.

* Heard from the Public Education Foundation, which is setting up billboards to highlight graduates from each Hamilton County high school now on their way to college.

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about Kevin Hardy...

Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...

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