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Student numbers soaring in county

September 04, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County's student population is up by 200 students over last year, forcing the school system to consider hiring more teachers, Superintendent of Schools R. Steven Nichols said Tuesday night.

Classes started Aug. 26, and most of the new students arrived at the elementary and middle school levels, which were already tight on space, said Nichols.

"They didn't come where we wanted them to," Nichols said following the Jefferson County Board of Education meeting.

To offset the extra students, the school system needs to consider hiring another first-grade teacher and a fourth-grade teacher for Ranson Elementary School, said Nichols.

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Another primary one teacher is needed for South Jefferson Elementary, said Nichols.

Primary one teachers teach at-risk students who are between kindergarten and first grade, Nichols said.

Final population numbers are still not known, said Nichols.

He described the student population as standing at about 7,300 and "still growing."

Student growth has been a big concern among local school systems.

School officials in Jefferson County have been concerned about the large population growth being felt in neighboring Loudoun County, Va., coming this way and bringing more students.

A comprehensive facilities plan completed for Berkeley County Schools recently projects that school system will grow by 3,500 students by 2010, and that by 2015, Berkeley County will surpass Kanawha County as the largest school system in the state.

Tonight, Jefferson County Schools officials will appear at a public hearing at the Holiday Inn in Martinsburg to stress to the West Virginia Economic Development Grant Committee the importance of receiving $15 million from the committee to help build a second high school in Jefferson County.

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