Tupelo enrollment decreases slightly

Education stockBy Chris Kieffer
Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Tupelo School District’s enrollment is slightly down from this point last year.

The district had 7,095 students in grades K-12 through its third week of school. It had 7,143 students through that same period last year, meaning a difference of 48 students.

Assistant Superintendent Matthew Dillon attributed the decline to the district’s efforts to more strictly enforce its residency requirements.

“I think we understood there might be a little dip because of us working on residency, he said. “We anticipated a slight drop, and that is what we are seeing.

“We feel good about where our enrollment numbers are. With the momentum from last year, we are excited with the students we have in place now and are looking for great things this year.”

The district increased its paperwork requirements to prove residency and also made several home visits during the summer when there were uncertainties, Dillon said, noting that the process extended into the fall semester last year.

“It is important we are allotting our resources for students who live in our district and to our tuition students,” Dillon said.

Enrollment at individual schools is not yet available. Tupelo saw a district-wide increase of 20 kindergarten to second-grade students.

The district also has 236 students enrolled in its Early Childhood Education Center for 4-year-olds. It plans to open another class at the school soon and has 27 students on its waiting list.

Enrollment numbers are typically in flux during the first weeks of the school year and generally stabilize after Labor Day. The district’s average daily attendance during October and November will be used to determine its funding for next year.

A new rule this year states students must be present for 63 percent of the day to be counted toward average daily attendance. Dillon said the district is asking parents to not schedule doctor or dentist appointments during the school day in October and November.

“It is important for students to be at school every day because they need daily instruction,” he said. “But if there is any opportunity for parents to change doctors appointments in October and November, it would be critical to help us in providing resources for our students.”

chris.kieffer@journalinc.com