Education, Latest News, Preston County

Preston County Schools up from last year, down over five years

KINGWOOD — Enrollment in Preston County Schools is up compared to last year but the system has lost essentially an entire grade level worth of students over the past five years.

Assistant Superintendent Brad Martin briefed the Preston County Board of Education on the 2nd Month Data/Enrollment Submission & Certification — an annual required report to the state — at its regular meeting on Oct. 25.

The West Virginia Department of Education said Preston County had no errors in its report, Martin told the board. The district was waiting for other districts to finish turning them in, because all 55 counties need to submit at the same time.

Enrollment numbers affect federally funded, locally funded, and levy funded positions, Martin said.

In total, for the 2021-22 school year, PCS has 4,231 students, according to data provided by Martin. 

Overall, PCS has 30.42 more students, a 0.73% increase, in the 2021-22 school year, compared to the 2020-21 school year. 

“I get the question, Brad, how do I have a point-42 student,” Martin said.

He explained the number of enrolled students is based on what’s known as full-time equivalent or FTE student — meaning a conventionally enrolled student counts as one FTE. However, a homeschooled student who comes in 30 minutes a week for speech services counts as .02 FTE. 

“We have half-time students, we have students, for example, that are primarily homeschool, but they may come in because they want to access, to take art or band or something like that,” Martin said.

Aurora School saw the biggest increase with a 13.85%, or 21.33,  increase in students, Martin said. South Preston lost the most with a 4% decrease. 

In comparison to the 2016-17 school year, there are 278.05 fewer students enrolled. 

“In five years, we’ve lost about a typical number of what would make up a grade level district-wide,” Martin said. A typical grade level is about 275-300 students.

Martin explained he went back five years with the data because going back farther than that would have to consider school reconfigurations.

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