Pasco schools see slight growth
Five days into the new school year, Pasco County schools had 481 more students in seats than at the same time a year earlier, and 205 more children attending than on the first day of classes. (For details, see this chart.)
If the trend continues, planning director Chris Williams told the Gradebook, the district should remain on track to meet projections of somewhere between 200 to 400 higher enrollment than during 2008-09. On Friday, 63,564 kids were in Pasco schools.
Still, Williams threw out some cautionary notes. Among them, he mentioned that the fifth day of classes in 2008 featured the threat of Tropical Storm Fay, which depressed attendance figures, making it easier to surpass that number this year. Also, he said that the numbers of students attending school is often lower than the number registered, and until registration plays out it won't be clear how many children are actually coming to Pasco schools.
Looking at Friday's numbers, Williams did notice some trends, though.
- Pasco's charter schools continue to grow. The five charters had 1,757 students attending, up 259 from a year ago. That's more than half the total attendance increase for the district.
- Schools in central Pasco, including Sunlake and Wiregrass Ranch high schools, John Long Middle and Pine View Elementary, also showed strong growth in students.
- Schools in west Pasco, such as Sunray and Cypress elementary schools, were more likely than others to see drops in attendance.
The district will take another count of students on Friday. At that point, Williams said, the numbers are likely to stabilize.