Pasco schools enrollment growth holds steady
Twenty days into the new school year, Pasco County schools remained steady in their enrollment increase, with 1,521 more students than at the same time a year earlier.
"It's right on target for what we projected," district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said.
The percentage increase was highest for charter schools, which hold just a fraction of the total number of Pasco students. The nine charters saw a rise of 437 students, or 14 percent, to 3,581. Academy at the Farm, Classical Prep and Pepin Academies saw the largest increases, at about 100 students each.
Among the traditional schools, elementary and high schools saw their numbers swell by about 2 percent, while middle schools declined by 3 percent.
Temporary closures for reconstruction appeared to negatively affect Anclote Elementary and Bayonet Point Middle, which each saw large enrollment dips. Anclote dropped from 590 students a year ago to 421 this fall, prompting teachers to urge the district office not to slash their staff. Bayonet Point similarly fell from 724 students a year ago to 511 at the latest count.
Other schools that lost students, such as Watergrass Elementary and Crews Lake Middle, anticipated the changes as recently rebuilt campuses reopened.
Meanwhile, some of the district's most crowded campuses remained in need of relief as they continued to surge. Mitchell High, once the county's most crowded school, grew by more than 100 students to approach the 2,000 mark again, while nearby Sunlake High also rose by 100 to surpass 1,800 students.
Odessa Elementary, also on the bustling State Road 54 corridor, rose from 827 students a year ago to 937 this fall, and nearby Oakstead Elementary remained above 1,000 students despite having a slight decrease as students transferred to Sanders Memorial Magnet.
Over in Wesley Chapel, the Wiregrass Ranch area schools remained well above capacity, with Seven Oaks Elementary hitting the 1,100 student mark and becoming the district's largest elementary school.
The district construction team is busy with plans to add new schools in the major growth areas over the next couple of years.
To see the current and past student counts, visit the district website.