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VISD enrollment up; district may have to shift teachers, students

By BY KAYLA BELL - KBELL@VICAD.COM
Aug. 23, 2011 at 3:23 a.m.
Updated Aug. 24, 2011 at 3:24 a.m.


HOW TO REGISTER

To register with VISD, contact your neighborhood campus.

If you're not sure which school zone you belong to, call the administration building at 361-576-3131 or find the zoning map at visd.com.

The schools will be asking for proof of residence, which can come in the form of a utility bill, a rent receipt or a contract for a home sale.

causes of enrollment CHANGES

Increased enrollment in VISD could be attributed to the closing of Outreach Word Academy charter school and a growing population in the Victoria area, Boyett said.

Student populations are somewhat sporatic, though.

Each elementary grade saw an increase in enrollment this year, but sixth- and eighth-grade enrollment was down slightly.

Seventh grade saw a larger increase.

Ninth- and 10th-grade enrollment is also down, while 11th and 12th is up.

Last-minute student registrations will have the Victoria school district working late this week to accommodate shifting student populations and at least 188 more students this year compared to last.

It's a process the district has to go through every year to make sure each classroom has a ratio of 22 students per teacher.

This year's enrollment numbers are mostly random across the district, with some campuses and grades decreasing by a few students and others growing quickly.

The first-day numbers were gathered at three different times Monday, as parents registered their kids on the first day of school. Registration will continue and enrollment numbers are likely to change on each campus, said Diane Boyett, district communications specialist.

"On the first day of school, instead of being in a classroom, kids are sitting in the office filling out paperwork. That's very unfortunate, but we have that every year," Boyett said.

For campuses that have seen a huge spike in enrollment, the district will have to work out a way to disperse students and teachers.

Administrators would look at a few options, Boyett said.

If a classroom is just one or two students over the maximum number allowed, the district can seek a waiver from the state.

If enrollment in a particular class is more than that, teachers in grades with lower enrollment and smaller class sizes may be able to be moved to a different, more populous grade.

Teachers could even be moved to a different campus as an almost last resort, Boyett said.

The last step would be forcing students to move from their current campus to a different one.

"It's certainly not something that is entered into lightly, to say, 'You need to move.' Really, that is a last resort," Boyett said.

One grandmother is concerned her grandson could be taken out of his fourth-grade year at Guadalupe Elementary School, where the entire staff has helped him excel, she said.

By Monday, enrollment at Guadalupe Elementary had increased 23 students, up from last year's 115 students.

"I think just because it's a small school, you bond with everybody. I love that school. You couldn't ask for a better school," Linda Boyd said.

She said she recognizes the district's predicament, though.

"It's not anybody's fault. I just feel really bad for the kids. Some of them are really strong, some aren't," she said.

If students are forced to move, Boyett said the district would work to ensure they had transportation and that they are with their siblings.

Those who transferred from another neighborhood would most likely be the first to go. Then, it'd be a last-to-come, first-to-go situation with neighborhood students who registered late.

The district is taking its time to get a better handle on how this year's enrollment looks before it makes any decisions. VISD has voiced its commitment to maintaining small class sizes and quality instruction, in spite of state budget cuts.

With increased enrollment will come more money from the state, though not as much as previous years, Boyett said.

But, that could still mean more jobs for teachers.

"We're not going to make a profit off of extra kids coming in, but at least it will ease some of that if we do need to hire additional teachers," Boyett said.

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