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School enrollment increases

August 27, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Not all students attended school on Wednesday, the first day of the new school year, but Washington County Public Schools officials say when all the students are in class, the total enrollment is expected to top 20,000.

Enrollment last year was 19,884, according to school system documents.

Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said the enrollment increase bodes well for the future of Washington County and the school system.

The Washington County Board of Education may need to look at creative ways to deal with increased enrollment in some of the schools, Morgan said.

Actual attendance Wednesday was 19,045 but that number will climb as kindergarten classes begin and other students who are registered come to school, Deputy Superintendent Patricia Abernethy said.

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The total enrollment is expected to increase to 20,473 students in the next few weeks, she said.

About 1,000 of those students are in kindergarten, Abernethy said. One-third of kindergarten students attend school the first day of the school year, a second third on the second day and the rest attend the third day. Monday will be the first day that all kindergarten students are in school on the same day, Abernethy said.

The enrollment numbers do not include prekindergarten or Evening High School, Abernethy said.

William Blum, chief operating officer for the school system, said Wednesday that most of the enrollment increases occurred in the urban growth area of the City of Hagerstown, affecting Eastern, Salem Avenue, Potomac Heights and Paramount elementary schools.

As new developments in the area are completed in the next few months Abernethy said she expects enrollment to climb even higher.

In April, Blum projected that enrollment on Sept. 30, 2004, would be 20,152. Based on more recent projections, he was off by 321, Abernethy said.

The school system responds to increases in school enrollment levels by adding teachers where appropriate, she said.

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