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JPS Enrollment Drops, Trend Continues

Enrollment in the Jamestown Public Schools District is slightly less than it was in 2018-19, continuing a five-year trend of slight decreases.

Jamestown Public Schools Board of Education officials received the district’s enrollment report on Tuesday from Bret Apthorpe, district superintendent. Enrollment decreased most in pre-school (22 fewer students) and in ninth through 12th grades with 15 fewer students enrolled in 2019-20 than it did in 2018-19. The district’s total enrollment of 5,021 students is 49 fewer than were enrolled in 2018-19. The district had 5,140 students in 2015-16.

Enrollments have increased at Bush Elementary School (320 from 292), Washington Middle School, 496 students from 484 students) and Lincoln Elementary School (391 students from 384). Enrollments have decreased at Fletcher Elementary (534 to 525 students), Love Elementary (345 to 342 students), Ring Elementary (440 students to 409 students), Jefferson Middle School (417 students to 387 students), Persell Middle School (501 students to 496 students) and Jamestown High School (1355 students to 1295 students).

Another 308 students are being educated outside the school district, a decrease from 328 in 2018-19.

Jamestown’s student body is comprised of 62 percent white students and 38 percent minorities. It is not yet known how many of the district’s 5,021 students are low-income, though that number has hovered between 71% in 2015-16 and 68% in 2018-19. The district has 16% of its students requiring an individualized education plan, the same percentage as last year, and has 4% English Language Learners, the same percentage as the previous four years.

“Those of us who attended the Rick Timbs event last night at Webb’s know that some of our fellow school districts have very dramatic decreases in enrollment,” Apthorpe said. “For a school of this size, this is almost considered a flat enrollment.”

The district also has 52 students enrolled in the Success Academy through Sept. 11. Apthorpe said state officials are happy to see such a program in a smaller city school district and will push for an administrative rule change that would allow building projects at the Success Academy to be eligible for state building aid. Because the Success Academy is held in a school building that was formerly closed, it is no longer eligible for building aid.

“They talked about the Success Academy and how thrilled they were that Jamestown and the school district were able to create such a partnership,” Apthorpe said. “They discovered they have a nuance in their regulations. Because we have opened a school, regulations don’t permit the district to get building aid on that. What that means is, we have a new roof on it, but hypothetically if that roof were to go we would have to close that building because we couldn’t afford to replace it because there’s no aid on it. They don’t like anything to do with that. They were very, very empathetic to that and are going to go back and see about changing that regulation. That’s a nuance that was never intended. In other words, they were praising our work, saying ‘We don’t want these regulations to be in the way of this great work.’ So, that was terrific.”

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