Capacity issues at four Putnam County elementary schools will limit enrollment heading into the new school year.
Algood, Jere Whitson, Prescott, and Sycamore Elementary Schools will be open to students who live in the school zone and those students who live outside the zone but attended the school this year. These four schools are at 86 percent or more of capacity.
Attendance Supervisor Chris Pierce said the board’s rezoning plan seems to be working.
“This is to be tempered a little bit because we’ve had a certain number of home school kids who are enrolled,” Pierce said. “Kids decide to try to homeschool this year. So we just have to kind of take a little bit for what it is. It’ll just take some time to see the full effects of the change in zone once the number of students who are returning back from home school to us before we really get a clear picture of what that’s going to look like.”
The school system implemented a plan last year to try and get every elementary school around 90 percent capacity. At that time, four schools stood over 90 percent capacity including Jere Whitson at 103 percent.
Now, just two schools stand at more than 90 percent capacity. Jere Whitson sits at 96 percent capacity with Prescott South at 91 percent. Both have seen enrollment decrease roughly six percent from last year.
Thursday night, the school board voted to allow only priority one and two enrollment at Algood, Jere Whiston, Prescott and Sycamore.
Six other elementary schools will allow priority three students, those who are the sibling of a student currently attending the school in question. Baxter Primary, Burks, Cane Creek, Capshaw, Northeast and Parkview will also conduct a kindergarten lottery for students not ordinarily eligible to attend a particular school.
Cornerstone Elementary will also offer priority one through three enrollment and will also conduct a 2nd grade lottery.
“That complex, of course, is two buildings,” Pierce said. “School board policy basically says after they finish one, if they’re out of zone, they’re really not able to go to the other. So what I would like to propose would to be a second grade lottery into that building for any Baxter primary students or whoever. You can’t guarantee a spot, but at least try to have a chance at a spot in Cornerstone’s Elementary in second grade.”
Current enrollment ranged from 77 percent of capacity at both Northeast and Parkview, 78.3 percent of capacity at Burks Elementary to 96.6 percent at Jere Whitson.
Pierce said middle and high school enrollment capacities look good at this point.
Kindergarten enrollment begins April 13.