Berry-Dreisbach admits Fayette school enrollment plummeting

Fri, 02/27/2009 - 12:24pm
By: sniffles5

The FCBOE has been telling Fayette citizens that student enrollment has been around 22,100 students since last September. LINK

Yesterday, school spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach admitted to the Atlanta Journal-Consitution that enrollment is currently down to 21,300 students. LINK

We've dropped EIGHT HUNDRED STUDENTS in the past five months?

This is an additional 3.2 percent drop in students to add to the previous 0.5 drop in students that the school system admitted to back in September.

Don't forget: a 3.7% decline in students means far fewer state dollars coming in.

At a charitable 20:1 student-teacher ratio, that would mean at least 40 surplus teaching positions.

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Submitted by hsh87 on Fri, 03/13/2009 - 7:30pm.

I don't know about all the schools, but I can name one Middle School and one high school for sure that is contributing to the decline - there are many parents who have pulled their kids, decided to home school or put them in private school because it is so bad - if our county #'s are declining like that - perhaps someone should step back and look at the big picture here - there are plenty of kids in Fayette county, why are they not attending our schools? - or perhaps to save someone's behind, they sent some of the illegal attenders back to the counties they should have been attending to start with.

Submitted by pantherpride on Mon, 03/02/2009 - 3:23pm.


Submitted by pantherpride on Mon, 03/02/2009 - 1:31pm.

The difference is found in the Weights for FTE Funding found on QBE Reports and the actual numbers of students enrolled.
Segments are weighted so that classes that require a lower student-teacher ratio, such as a special education class, receives more funding than a regular social studies class that has a higher maximum class size. All students are counted by the segments in which they are enrolled and then the system’s QBE earnings are calculated.

Actual enrollment is down a total of 34 students from the same month last year, but is up 23 since the beginning of this year.

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Submitted by sniffles5 on Mon, 03/02/2009 - 2:11pm.

I'm not talking about QBE allocations and/or Weights here. I'm talking about the absolute number of students enrolled.

Berry-Dreisbach told the AJC there were 21,300 students enrolled last week.

If you have anything linkable that disproves this, I would certainly like to see it.

By the way the reports I accessed on the stage of GA website indicated an absolute enrollment right at 22,300, and per pupil expenditures calculated accordingly, and yes, I checked their math.

I was using 20:1 as a rule of thumb, I realize the ratios vary based on type of class (elementary, middle, high) and that certain other criteria is implied (special ed). Got a better ballpark ratio? I'd love to hear it.

Submitted by pantherpride on Mon, 03/02/2009 - 2:32pm.

Where on the state of Georgia website are you finding figures on absolute in enrollment? I only see FTE counts which are weighted.

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Submitted by sniffles5 on Mon, 03/02/2009 - 5:48pm.

On August 19, 2008 Melinda Berry-Dreisbach indicated to Ben Nelms that ENROLLMENT for the previous year was 22,108.LINK The FTE "Voodoo" (weighted) number reported to the state for the same year was 22,248. LINK

You are correct, these two numbers are NOT exactly the same. They are, however, within what most people would regard as normal tolerance (99.7% means there is a scant 0.3% difference between the numbers). Ergo, I used the two terms "absolute enrollment" and "FTE" interchangeably..

Now we come to the 2009 school year. The preliminary enrollment number on August 15th was 21,993. The "Labor day enrollment number" (on the FCBOE website) is, as Spyglass said below, 22,084. Last week, Berry-Dreisbach claimed enrollment was slightly above 21,300.

I am standing by my assertation that MY numbers are correct until you can prove otherwise. If you've got data that shows my calculations to be incorrect, by all means share your data with us.

Submitted by Spyglass on Mon, 03/02/2009 - 2:16pm.

is the number the FCBOE website says were enrolled as of Sept 2008

Submitted by Doug on Sat, 02/28/2009 - 4:01pm.

I read the same AJC article. This does look like they have been covering up the numbers.

The FCBOE is just Clayton County BOE with better students, right?

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Submitted by suggarfoot on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 1:33pm.

I hate this worst for the tiniest victims of all this. The kids from Tyrone Elementary will more than likely go to either Birch or Rivers.

Key and Todd were against Rivers. Smola, Smith, and Wright knew how many kids ...we don't have...but built it anyway. Now there is only one way out.

They knew they would have to close schools to fill the new ones. Now they are stepping back and letting Marion Key, who was against it from the start, have to suggest the closing. They sat back the other night and just said, 'no we can't', and wouldn't give the reason.

Could the reason be their email trees where they told people they were not closing them? Knowing full well how many kids they had to fill them and that they wouldn't get federal money for under quota sized classes.

They should be so ashamed.

Submitted by Jaxxiesgirl on Fri, 03/13/2009 - 6:51pm.

I was at that meeting and they gave the reason. Smola said there is no way the parents of Tyrone students would go for it and Wright said there isn't enough time to close Tyrone, redistrict it with Burch, and then open Rivers before the next school year. Smith just repeated what they said to affirm it I guess.

I just want to know when things are going to be done by what is best for this county....budget wise and otherwise. Why should there be schools with under enrollment when there are schools that have way too many students? Especially when this causes us to lose so much funding on an under enrolled school like Tyrone Elementary. After all, we are trying to overcome a $14.5 million deficit. I would love to see some common sense used here. We can't go backwards in time and not build Rivers. But it does make sense to close Tyrone and redistrict with Burch. Rivers could then be opened and you would have two schools equal in enrollment (if the redistricting was done correctly) instead of one school with very few students and another one that is over crowded. That would bring the county in a lot more funds that they do not get now since Tyrone has so few students. The Tyrone students would have newer and nicer schools than what they do now.

What people should be ashamed of is the reason the redistricting has not been done correctly in the past and that it is still why some people do not want it done now.

Submitted by mamadutt on Wed, 03/11/2009 - 10:22pm.

I am exhausted at all the talk about opening this new school. I want to ask any of you against the opening if your child is in a crowded school. We are hearing how many empty desks we have, but yet no one talks about how terrible the conditions are at Burch. Reality is Burch is dealing with almost 200 students over the capacity of the old school! The whole 2nd grade are in "prison" trailers. Imagine this: spending 6-7 hours in a little trailer not much wider than a school bus or longer than one. Only 1 window, 1 door and teacher can't turn a/c unit on or else kids won't hear her/him teach the class. These trailers have 20 kids in each and the teacher. I don't know about you, but I would go "mad" and claustrophobic in this class. Why don't you nay sayers come sit in this room just one day. I think you would change your mind about opening a newer, bigger school that could handle this many students without having trailers. Make Tyrone the "satellite" school. The new school could just move all the staff and desks etc from Burch and not have to spend more money. Tyrone can move their staff and stuff over to Burch. The routes for bus drivers would pretty much remain the same. Would someone please use some common sense in settling this issue!!!I think Key and Todd need to be first one to observe Burch and what the teachers must endure on a daily basis. I am a Fayette resident and taxpayer. My money paid for the new school on the south side of town and now I would like for my child to have a better education with better environment just like them. Is our money in North Fayette not as good as yours? As I have read in previous comments, North Fayette is the "slum" area of town and doesn't deserve a new school. I happen to personally live in this "ghetto" part of town and love it. The people are friendlier here. Unlike some people, we don't separate the races and stereotype. There are very wealthy black and white families here. Our students win Science Olympiads, Science Fairs, Math competitions, but you rarely see that information posted anywhere. We have very intelligent students here in the "slums". We are obviously the black sheep of the county unfortunately and held down by those in authority. More of us here do need to speak up before final decisions are made though. Our kids and teachers deserve better than this. I applaud our Burch teachers and their efforts to provide the best education possible under terrible conditions! Take a serious look at this issue and get facts!

Submitted by Davids mom on Wed, 03/11/2009 - 10:38pm.

Document your facts; take pictures; - your observation is so moving! Get your parents and taxpayers together and make a calm, informed presentation. Have some of your students write why they feel they deserve a better facility. The 'squeaky wheel' is heard!

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