Monday, December 11, 2017
Education

School enrollment declines in Hernando County by 327 students

BROOKSVILLE — There were 327 fewer students in Hernando County classrooms Friday than there were a year ago, according to the school district's annual 10th day head count.

The district's kindergarten through 12th-grade enrollment dropped from 22,147 to 21,820. It also fell 187 students below staff projections.

The total was 639 students below the count of 22,459 students in 2010.

While the head count used for state funding and for class-size determinations comes in October, the 10th-day count is important internally.

The district uses the enrollment numbers to start adjusting class sizes, moving teachers within schools or among schools, in order to keep classes from being oversized or too small.

Typically, about six to 12 teachers switch schools to adjust to enrollment needs, said Joe Vitalo, president of the Hernando Classroom Teachers Association.

"That will save us money," Vitalo said, noting that it means the district won't need to hire additional teachers. "It's an effort to be very efficient with the staff."

While the district will use the numbers to shift resources, enrollment is hardly stagnant this early in the school year and is expected to increase.

One of the more bizarre reasons: Some parents simply don't send their kids to school until after Labor Day, which is Monday.

"I don't know what it is," said superintendent Bryan Blavatt. "It's their little way of protest."

The enrollment change will not be great, but noticeable, he said.

Vitalo said one of the reasons for the late enrollees is that families move here from up North, where in some places school doesn't start until after Labor Day.

"People are still thinking up-North style," he said. "It's a Northern mentality."

Blavatt said the numbers will continue to increase through September.

"I take it all with a grain of salt in the first couple of weeks," he said.

The largest enrollment difference came at J.D. Floyd K-8 School, which fell 104 students below projections. The next-largest discrepancy, a 69-student shortfall, came at Powell Middle School.

Blavatt said this year's count is just about on par with recent years.

"Our numbers are around the same ballpark," he said.

Last year, the difference between the projection and the actual number of students on the 10th day was 51. The year before, it was 84.

He said he wasn't surprised by the slight decline.

For many years, the school district couldn't build schools fast enough to keep up with Hernando County's growing population. The collapse of the housing industry and the high unemployment rate have slowed growth, and some families have left the area.

"The growth spurts over," Blavatt said. "We're into maintaining and trying to keep our numbers."

Danny Valentine can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432.

Comments
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey has learned all the tricks to get her kids out of bed and off to school every morning. But this year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every school day with a knot i...
Updated: 8 hours ago

University of Central Florida Greeks won’t hold social events, serve alcohol for 6 weeks this spring

ORLANDO — University of Central Florida fraternities and sororities won’t host social activities or any events with drinking for at least the first six weeks of the spring semester, up from the two-week ban on alcohol that has been in place in the pa...
Published: 12/08/17
Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Disturbed by stories about the rape of teens by supervisory staff, a pandemic of sometimes savage force, brutal beatdowns ordered by youth care workers and policies that permit the hiring of violent offenders, Miami-Dade’s state attorney wants to kno...
Published: 12/07/17
Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Hillsborough County’s public school teachers are horn-honking, voice-raising, sign-waving, foot-stomping mad, and I can’t blame them. They are paying for a problem they didn’t create. About one-third of the workforce was expecting to receive a $4,000...
Published: 12/07/17
In Watershed Ambassadors Program, Pasco students learn about natural Florida

In Watershed Ambassadors Program, Pasco students learn about natural Florida

SPRING HILL — On a small wooden dock at the Cross Bar Ranch, Cynthia Brinker gingerly pokes through the trappings in her fishing net, plucking out a tiny creature to examine close up. "What the heck is this?" the Weightman Middle School studen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Crognale named 2018 Hernando Principal of the Year

Crognale named 2018 Hernando Principal of the Year

BROOKSVILLE — For just a year and a half, Steve Crognale has been the principal at the Endeavor and Discovery Academies. But now, he’s been named the Hernando School District Principal of the Year for 2018. Endeavor serves students, most of them hig...
Published: 12/06/17
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey is skilled at calming first-day-of-school jitters. But this school year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every weekday with a knot in her stomach.It’s been there ever since th...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Why do universities handle sexual assault cases, anyway?

Why do universities handle sexual assault cases, anyway?

News stories about campus sexual assault often get the question, "Why do schools handle these cases, anyway?"Readers often wonder how universities got tasked with handling these convoluted cases in the first place. Where, they ask, do the police come...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Hillsborough teachers keep the heat on after $92 bonus offer

Hillsborough teachers keep the heat on after $92 bonus offer

TAMPA — The second Hillsborough County School Board meeting in less than a month took place Tuesday against a backdrop of honking car horns, cheering teachers and audience members moving through the room in shifts.Dressed in blue union-issued T-shirt...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17
Hillsborough school district names Teacher of the Year finalists

Hillsborough school district names Teacher of the Year finalists

Finalists were announced Tuesday for Hillsborough County Teacher of the year and other honors.Winners will be announced at a banquet on Jan. 16.The finalists for teacher of the year are: Jennifer Jackson, seventh grade science, Stewart Middle; Alexa ...
Published: 12/05/17