On Wednesday, day 10 of the 2010-2011 school year, the district reported an increase in total enrollment of 115 over the previous year, bringing its count to 4,108 students -- a 2.9-percent increase over 2009-2010.
"I'd say based on the trend, that's a pretty good little jump for us," Superintendent Howard Hinesley said Thursday afternoon. "Last year, I think it was 50 or 60, and that was a jump -- we had been flat before that. This is close to twice as much as we had last year. I wouldn't call that flat for a system our size."
Most of the increase has been at Cartersville Elementary, which saw 70 more students, while Cartersville High had 50 more pupils enroll. Only Cartersville Primary saw a decline as it reported 30 fewer students -- all in kindergarten. First and second grades at the primary school, however, showed higher student numbers.
The enrollment figure represents the largest initial enrollment for the beginning of the school year since the 2002-2003 school year, when the increase was about 3.2 percent. The school system has grown by more than 12.7 percent in the last 10 years and 4.4 percent in the last five years. From readily available records, the system has increased enrollment in 14 of the last 17 years.
Hinesley said district officials are trying to determine exactly where the increased numbers came from -- whether students moved into the city limits, are coming from outside the city boundary or were previously enrolled in private schools.
"We are seeing several students entering from private schools and also several transferring from the county," Assistant Superintendent Ken Clouse said in a Wednesday news release. "We certainly would like to think we are attracting some of these private school students into the city system and we are being told by many of those parents that is the case. Obviously, however, some are making the decision because of financial factors."
Officials said that while the upped enrollment has had some effects in the schools, the numbers have not been large enough to require additional teaching staff, as the potential for increased student numbers was taken into account before the school year begin.
"With the increased enrollment and raising class sizes, there is an impact in the classroom. Fortunately, the quality of our teaching and support staff in the schools is such that we are able to continue to offer an outstanding educational environment and program for our students," Clouse said.
Hinesley said the extra pupils also have not led to class sizes surpassing the limits set by the school board.
He added that while the potential for enrollment figures to change exists, he does not expect them to undergo any major fluctuations.
"Most kids are getting enrolled now and you're approaching Labor Day," he said. "It would be unusual if they did, at least from our history here."