School Enrollment Below Projection

NEW HANOVER COUNTY -- The number of students in New Hanover County classrooms this year is significantly lower than projection.

School district officials projected 827 more students than those who have shown up at school this year.  So far, just more than 24,000 students are enrolled in the school district.

Enrollment is down by about 85 students compared to last year.

School officials said it is part of the ebb and flow of determining how many children arrive in the area with new residents.

"Maybe they have elementary school students, or high school students, or maybe the new people don't bring children with them," Myrtle Grove Middle School principal Robin Meiers explained. "So we can't always project how many kids there will be."

There are 17 fewer students below projection at Myrtle Grove Middle School, after two children enrolled on Tuesday.

Dr. John Welmers, who helped project the enrollment numbers, agreed that fewer parents moved into the district than expected.  While the projection process was by no means perfect, no teachers would lose their jobs because the students were not there.

"With attrition and other reassigments, we don't have to worry about anyone being laid off," said Dr. John Welmers of the New Hanover County School District. "So it won't have a significant impact on us."

Any high school principal is used to being flexible, but principal Dave Spencer at Hoggard High School was happy with the students that arrived at his school this year.

"We're right on target. They were perfect with us," Spencer said.  "It always balanced itself out."

Some of the schools that saw the biggest drop-off from the projected figures were College Park Elementary School, Roland Grise Middle School and Laney High School.

Reported by Joe Keiley