Planners with the Fulton County School System were nearly spot on in their projections for student enrollment this year, missing the mark by only 12 more than the forecast of 93,527 students.
The near perfect forecast for the 2019-20 school year is in stark contrast to last year’s enrollment which came in more than 1,000 students below expectations. It also indicates systems planners are getting more adept at projecting numbers as the system gradually declines in population.
Yngrid Huff Jones, director of planning for Fulton County Schools, said she expects enrollment to grow slightly as new students enroll post-Labor Day, the traditional start of school for other parts of the country.
“This is mostly at the high school-level where a few high schools have enrolled a much higher number than anticipated,” she noted. “Staff is working to determine a root cause for this over-enrollment and will provide a detailed analysis for the board during a future work session.”
This year’s enrollment is the third consecutive year of declining enrollment from the previous year. Once projected to hit 100,000 students, the district’s enrollment peaked in 2016 with 96,000 students.
The district remains the fourth largest in the state, behind only Gwinnett, Cobb and DeKalb County school systems.
While system planners were on the mark system-wide, a deeper look into the numbers revealed much less accuracy for individual schools. This led to staff adjustments and classroom reallocations in the first few weeks of school.
In North Fulton the variances were mostly seen in elementary schools. Despite a difference of only four students between the actual and projected enrollment, wide swings in over and under forecast were prevalent.
Manning Oaks Elementary opened with nearly 100 fewer students than projected, while Hillside Elementary in Roswell welcomed 75 more students than expected — the equivalent of nearly three classrooms of kids.
In all, 13 of the area’s 30 elementary schools saw projections miss the actual enrollment by 30 or more students.
Projections for the area’s 12 middle schools were more in line with actual enrollment. Most came within 10 students over or under forecast. The lone outlier was Holcomb Bridge Middle which enrolled 50 students above projections.
After defying the slowing growth trend across Fulton County for years, most high schools in North Fulton enrolled fewer students this year than last, and are nearly all within instructional capacity for the first time in years.
The lone exception was Cambridge High School in Milton which had a first month enrollment of 2,087, slightly higher than last year’s enrollment. Milton remains the area’s largest high school, but saw an opening day enrollment of 2,340 students, about 40 students fewer than last year.
While “tweaks” to staffing and classrooms may still take place this month, Huff Jones said those adjustments will not be as prevalent in North Fulton.
“Staffing has already been adjusted based on the current enrollment, accounting for trends post-Labor Day,” she explained, noting the Labor Day surge is less prevalent in North Fulton based on trends from previous years.
State Bridge Crossing
|Middle School||Actual Enrollment||Projected Enrollment|
|Amana Charter |
|High Schools||Actual Enrollment||Projected Enrollment|
|Actual Enrollment||Projected Enrollment|
|North Fulton Total||50,835||50,778|