Centreville superintendent sees positives in projected enrollment

CENTREVILLE — Projected attendance figures for the upcoming school year at Centreville Public Schools have Superintendent Stephanie Lemmer “excited” for the upcoming school year.

An enrollment update for the upcoming 2021-22 school year was presented to the CPS Board of Education during their meeting Monday. According to the update sheet, the projected attendance for the school district is at 881 for the upcoming year, about a 6 percent increase from an 828 figure in 2020-21, as well as more than the 833 enrollment number from 2019-20.

“When I pulled up this year’s enrollment, I was pleasantly really happy, surprised and excited,” Lemmer said, adding there could still be more students to come. “There’s still going to be a little fluctuation, because kids haven’t showed up, but the difference is that other district schools started, so we know about the requests for students to move to other districts already, even though we’re not starting until Monday.”

Kindergarten and seventh grade in the school district saw the biggest increases from 2020-21 to 21-22, with increases of 21 and 24 students, respectively. Third grade and fifth grade saw the next biggest increase, both gaining 17 students since last year. Only five grade levels saw decreases, most of them between two and ten students, with the biggest decrease coming in eighth grade, which went from 70 students in 2020-21 to 49 this year; there were 47 students in seventh grade in 2020-21, meaning the Class of 2026 gained two more students between last year and this year.

Despite the numbers, Lemmer said class sizes would still be kept reasonable, with three sections at each grade level for what she called the first time ever.

“I want to reassure you that with the additional teachers we’ve secured, our class sizes are low. There’s plenty of room for additional growth in our enrollment in addition to what we currently have,” Lemmer said. “In a section of 75, we’re looking at 22 to 23 per class. Our section of kindergarten being at 93, this includes our Young 5’s class, and three sections of kindergarten.”

Lemmer also noted the growth in the Class of 2022, which went from 64 students to 75 students. Coupled with the growth in kindergarten/Young 5’s numbers, Lemmer expressed her excitement for the future of the district.

“We’re looking at a really successful year ahead of us,” Lemmer said.

Board President Jeff Troyer noticed that enrollment figures tend to jump back and forth, and how it can be consistent. Lemmer said that’s due mainly to how class sizes have worked over the years, giving the example of how 72 kindergarteners in 2019-20 turned into 60 projected second graders in 2021-22, as well as how 69 first graders in 2019-20 turned into 75 projected third graders in 2021-22.

Lemmer said ever since she took over as superintendent in 2017, enrollment in the district has increased 14 percent. She said she hopes this year’s numbers “hold true” for enrollment, and gave thoughts as to why the increase is happening.

“Facilities matter in keeping things clean, safe and up to date, but I know for me and the choice I make for my family – and I’m not just saying this as the superintendent – it’s about the people in the school district,” Lemmer said. “When I talk to families about why they’re coming here, it’s because of the teachers, the administration, the supportive board, and all of those things together are why people come here. Our reputation is, one thing when people get here and they see the quality of the education their kids get, it keeps them here.”

In other business…

  • The board accepted the resignation of Shawn Hulin after 25 years with the district, most recently as a junior/senior high school math teacher. Hulin will be taking a position with the Branch Area Career Center as their new Construction Trades teacher.
  • The board approved the hires of Andrew Olson and Chad Behrends as new junior/senior high school math teachers.
  • The board reviewed COVID-19 protocols in anticipation for the upcoming school year.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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