School enrollment jumps by 200

Published 6:18 pm Friday, August 17, 2012

LUTHER CONYERS center, was recognized at Thursday night’s Decatur County Board of Education meeting, for his 63 years of service in public education. Presenting the plaque to Conyers is board chairman Dr. Sydney Cochran, left, and school superintendent Dr. Fred Rayfield, right.|Jeff Findley

The Decatur County Board of Education welcomed much-needed positive news during its monthly meeting Thursday night. Through the first 10 days of the new school year, system-wide student attendance is up 201 students from last year.

System-wide, the student population is 5,496 versus 5,295 last year.

“This is something that we have desperately been looking for, a trend from our student numbers remaining stagnant to a move in a positive direction,” said superintendent Dr. Fred Rayfield. “With growth, we certainly hope to generate some state revenue with those new numbers, and we also know that we have to accommodate those new students with teachers.”

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The official Full Time Equivalent (FTE) student count that determines the state funding will occur in early October. The preliminary number could, and likely will, change slightly when the official count is taken.

More than half of the increase comes from Bainbridge High School. Through the first 10 days, 1,494 students attended the high school, a 129-student increase from last year’s roster of 1,365 students.

John Johnson Elementary School’s student count increased 35, from 444 to 479 students and West Bainbridge Elementary School has seen an increase to 565 students from 537 last year, an increase of 28 students.

The student population at Bainbridge Middle School increased from 790 to 814, and Jones Wheat Elementary School increased from 491 to 503.

While the student count increased system-wide, three schools have seen decreases. Hutto Middle School currently has 815 students, a decrease of four from last year’s total of 819. Potter Street Elementary School also decreased four students, from 352 to 348 and Elcan-King Elementary School has nine fewer students, from the prior year’s total of 497 to 488 this year.

Kelvin Bouie, who was appointed by the board last week to fill the unexpired term in District 1, was sworn into office earlier in the day Thursday and participated in the meeting as a board member. The unexpired term was created when Clarissa Kendrick resigned her seat on the board on June 30.

Although she wasn’t able to attend the meeting, the board recognized Kendrick for 19 years of service on the Decatur County Board of Education and another 40 years of service in public education.

The board also recognized another long-time educator, Luther Conyers. Conyers, also a member of the Bainbridge City Council, recently ended a 63-year career in education. Of those years, 60 were spent in the Decatur County School System.