Enrollment is on the upswing in the majority of school districts in Union County.
Student head counts are up by double digits in three of the county’s six school districts, up slightly in two others and down in one.
The Cove School District is leading the enrollment charge with an increase of 26 students. The school district now has 298 students, 8 percent more than it had at the end of the previous school year, according to Superintendent Earl Pettit.
Cove has 99 students in grades nine to 12 and 199 in kindergarten through eighth grade. Cove is a charter school district, which means students living outside of Cove can transfer in, even those from districts that do not have inter-district agreements with the district.
Pettit said Cove’s increase is not due to more students living outside the district transferring in, but rather to changing demographics.
“A lot of young families are moving (to Cove),” he said.
The superintendent had anticipated an enrollment increase, but nothing close to 26 students.
“We built our budget based on a projection of 278 students,” he said.
Enrollment has an enormous impact on school district funding since school districts receive about $7,700 from the state per student.
The Union School District is enjoying the second-largest enrollment increase in Union County, with a jump of 20 students, 5 percent more than it had in 2017-18. Like Cove, Union Superintendent Carter Wells said the district is also experiencing a surge of young families.
“This is really exciting,” said Union Superintendent Carter Wells.
This fall, Union has 350 students, a population evenly split with 175 pupils in elementary school and 175 in grades seven to 12. The bulk of the district’s increase can be traced to a large kindergarten class of 36. Union’s kindergarten classes typically range from 20 to 25. Wells said a second kindergarten teacher was hired last week due to the size of this year’s class.
Enrollment is also up in the double-digit range in the Elgin School District, which has 407 students, up 13 from 2017-18. The school district now has 177 students in grades seven to 12 and 236 in elementary school.
See more in Wednesday's edition of The Observer.