published Saturday, September 8th, 2012

Hamilton County Schools enrollment holds steady

Rick Smith is finishing his first year as superintendent of Hamilton County Schools.
Rick Smith is finishing his first year as superintendent of Hamilton County Schools.
Photo by Dan Henry.
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Hamilton County School enrollment comparison
Hamilton County School enrollment comparison

Enrollment continues to hold steady for Hamilton County Schools, up 469 students over this time last year.

"That's a really good number for us," said Superintendent Rick Smith.

The school district on Friday released its 20th-day student count, which showed a total enrollment of 42,705, the highest enrollment in at least five years.

Total high school enrollment held mostly steady, with middle schools adding 158 students and elementary schools adding 296 since last year's 20th day.

The county's per-pupil state education funding is set by the 20th-day count, making the figure key to school finances.

Smith said continued enrollment growth -- and corresponding state funding -- should help the county pay for additional teachers.

On Thursday, the school board approved the hiring of 10 additional teachers to meet increases in the number of students. Teachers in many buildings were already shuffled around this week to help meet state maximum classroom size regulations.

Students who move, seek hardship transfers or just don't register on time make it difficult for the system to anticipate exact enrollment at all 80 schools, officials said.

"Students in the computer don't necessarily equate to bodies in the classroom," Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Stacy Stewart told the board this week. "That's why we have to wait."

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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