By Dedra Cordle
South-Western City School officials make a number of projections related to student enrollment before the start of a new school year. Not only do they estimate what they believe the overall population of the district will be, but they also have to determine how many students they believe will attend each level.
Should the district be inaccurate with their projections, particularly if the actual numbers fall well below their assumptions, it could mean a loss in state and federal funding as well as the relocation of dozens of students to fill spacing gaps.
“That is why it is so incredibly important that we get these figures right,” said Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jamie Lusher.
When the actual enrollment numbers came in at the start of the 2022-23 school year, district officials gave a sigh of relief at how accurate their projections were.
“We have a 99 percent accuracy rate,” Lusher told the board of education at its meeting in early September.
According to the numbers presented, the district’s overall enrollment numbers surpassed the initial projections.
There are currently 20,925 students enrolled in the district: officials had projected there would be 20,887.
Where the district saw an increase in the student population was at the middle and high school level. The middle level saw an overall increase of seven students, whereas the high school level saw an increase of 111 students. There are currently 3,363 students enrolled at the district’s five middle schools, and 6,712 students enrolled at the district’s four high schools.
Where the district saw a decrease in the student population was at the elementary and intermediate level. The elementary level saw a decrease of 60 students, whereas the intermediate level saw a decrease of 15 students. There are currently 7,602 students enrolled at the district’s 16 elementary schools, and 3,183 students enrolled at the five intermediate schools.
Lusher said there were some notable exceptions to those numbers.
Buckeye Woods Elementary and Jackson Middle School each saw an increase in their student population of 61 students and 39 students, respectively. Prairie Lincoln Elementary and Galloway Ridge Intermediate each saw a decrease in their student population of 50 students and 39 students, respectively.
Lusher said that although their overall numbers are stable, the district will be monitoring the number of students exiting the schools on the westside. She added that those numbers could likely be attributed to the development growth within the Grove City area.
“That is something that we will be monitoring but at this time those numbers are pretty stable and that is a good thing,” she said.
Because of the growth of the overall student body population, the district has expanded its student support services by adding three counselors, seven social workers, and nine student support liaisons at the K-8 level.
In other district news, the board approved a modification to the 2022-23 master calendar that will change a planned in-session, out-of-session day. On Oct. 21, school will now be out-of-session to allow for a professional development day whereas Oct. 14 will now be in-session. Oct. 21 has been designated as OSAPSE (the Ohio Association of Public School Employees) Day.