NATCHEZ — Enrollment for the Natchez Adams School District has come close to the district’s projected enrollment of approximately 2,800 students.
On Thursday, 2,590 students showed up while last school year ended with 2,835 students, said NASD director of public engagement Tony Fields. That leaves the school district 245 fewer students than last year.
School started on July 28 with a surprisingly low number of 1,800 students. Since then, more than 700 others have signed up.
“I’m happy to report that we’re much better with attendance, better than the first day of school,” Fields said.
NASD enrollment has been declining every year for at least two decades, according to data from the Mississippi Department of Education. In the 2020-21 school year, NASD experienced its largest decrease in students from the previous school year when the district ended the year with 229 fewer students. The following year, the district lost another 46 students. However, many of them also enrolled in school late, Fields said. He added that the district didn’t reach a full roster until three to four weeks into school last year.
“Each year we find ourselves with a number of students who enroll late. This year it is a much higher number than normal. One factor could be the early start of school.
Fields said the district has done everything it can to alleviate late registrations. The district’s online registration portal for this school year opened in March, earlier than usual, and the district held in-person school registration events over the summer to help those in need. help. Every person who contacted the school district to enroll their child received help, he said. When students transfer to a new school district, Fields said the district should contact the NASD to get their records. The students the district counted as missing are the ones who are missing, he said.
“At this point, those 245 are still out there who haven’t registered or shown up for school,” Fields said. “We only have around 13 pupils so far who have gone through the proper channels to apply for homeschooling. It’s normal for us.
Fields said some students had transferred to other locations, but was unsure of the number.
He said the district receives base funding from the state at $18 per student per day.
Parents or guardians have 15 days from the start of the school year to enroll their children in school, failing which they could be accused of school neglect. These families could face consequences set by the youth court.
“It’s up to us to catch up with these students on what they missed,” Fields said. “Our attendance worker does a good job of reporting these things to youth court. We had a good meeting with Judge Walt Brown over the summer about negligence in education.
Fields praised faculty, staff and school district custodial workers for doing everything possible to make the school year as smooth as possible.
“The only thing we can do is to make sure that the registration process is accessible to everyone, that it is user-friendly and that we offer all the possibilities to make it easier. Those who took advantage of the opportunities we presented to them and started school on time had a good start to the school year,” he said.
“It’s been a smooth start but not an easy one with all the transitions we’re going through. But everyone has worked hard over the summer to make sure the school is ready to open. It’s not perfect, but everyone is doing their best.