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Schools show modest enrollment gains

September 18, 2013

If there's an oil boom going on, you can't tell it from school enrollment figures.

Through the first few weeks of the school year, enrollment at Big Spring, Forsan and Coahoma districts is up, but not dramatically so, compared to this time last year.

Big Spring Independent School District officials report 4,156 students enrolled in classes, up 23 from this time last year. Most of that increase is centered around the junior high, which saw a boost of 56 students from this time last year, but elementary enrollment, which has trended up in recent years, is down 24 from last year.

BSISD officials will never complain about having more students, but admit they were expecting an even higher spike this year.

“Honestly, with the oil boom, I thought at this time we'd have more students,” Assistant Superintendent Danny Ferrell said. “But it is what it is — based on these figures, I'd say the boom hasn't quite hit us yet.”

Howard County's other two public school systems also show modest enrollment gains so far this year.

Forsan ISD has 705 students enrolled in classes, up about 12 from the previous year. That figure is slightly above what the district averages in a normal year, Superintendent Randy Johnson said.

“On average, we have between 685 and 695 students, so this a little bit higher than what we usually have year in and year out,” he said. “From the end of last year to the start of this year shows a nice jump in enrollment. For whatever reason, we lost a lot of kids last year.”

Because of a limited number of residences in the district, Johnson said FISD is not expecting a dramatic enrollment increase, even if this area receives a dramatic influx of residents because of the boom.

“When I talk to realtors, they tell me there are no houses for sale (within the district),” he said. “So, we're not anticipating any major fluctuations (in enrollment) in the near future.”

Coahoma ISD also shows modest enrollment growth from this time last year, increasing from 852 to 881 students. The biggest share of that increase is at the elementary school, which reports 33 more students than this time in 2012.

While this year's enrollment gains are modest at Coahoma, it marks the second consecutive year the district has posted an increase.

“This is pretty significant, considering we had a big increase last year, also,” CISD Superintendent Amy Jacobs said. “We have about 100 more students than we did two years ago at this time.”

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