IW school enrollment up

Published 6:56 pm Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Carrollton Elem., Smithfield Middle show largest increases

By Frederic Lee

Staff writer

The number of students attending Isle of Wight public schools jumped 2 percent from last year’s count in September — with the increase occurring in the northern end of the county where housing developments are heating up. 

The division saw an increase of 105 kindergarten through 12th grade students — up from 5,401 to 5,506 according to a report from the school division. 

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It is the highest enrollment in more than 10 years. 

Carrollton Elementary School has 55 more students and enrollment now equals 680 students, according to Isle of Wight County Schools Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Susan Goetz.  

Every standard classroom in Carrollton Elementary is fully occupied, said Goetz.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

“We’re out of room,” she said.

Carrollton Elementary School has a capacity of 682 students. 

The next largest increases occurred in Smithfield Middle and High schools, increasing by 29 and 24 students respectively, according to the report.

The number of students at Smithfield Middle is now 599 out of a capacity of 634. Smithfield High School has 1,261 out of a capacity of 1,588. 

Westside gained 13 students with an enrollment of 761 and a school capacity of 849.

This year’s enrollment numbers top the most recent surge, which hit 5,461 K-12 students in September 2014. The next year, enrollment dropped to 5,375, according to the Virginia Department of Education. 

By comparison, the unofficial enrollment count in September 2008 was 5,484, according to school officials at the time.

School Board Chairperson Vicky Hulick said that she had visited Carrollton Elementary recently and that the cafeteria and recess facilities are extremely busy throughout the school day. 

To accommodate the students, lunch service begins before 11 a.m. through 1 p.m., said Hulick. 

Hardy Elementary School decreased by two students to 491, kindergarten through fourth grade.

School enrollment in the central and southern areas of the county remained steady or showed a decrease. 

Carrsville Elementary School, kindergarten through fifth grade, stayed the same at 233 students, and Windsor Elementary School decreased by six students to 535 in the same grade levels, according to the school division report. 

Georgie Tyler Middle School dropped from 437 to 429 students this year, and Windsor High had no change in its 517-student enrollment, according to the report.

The School Board and Board of Supervisors are considering replacing Hardy Elementary School with a facility that could accommodate up to 800 students, which could allow some students from Carrollton to be rezoned to decrease overcrowding.   

There were plans to build another elementary school in the northern end of the county, but that was shelved while the two Boards consider renovating or replacing Westside Elementary School.  {/mprestriction}