What is the truth about student enrollment numbers in DeSoto County and our schools? How did redistricting impact the Olive Branch schools? Are we growing and have past reports proven to be true?

For several years now, I have been studying our school district’s enrollment numbers, county growth patterns, new school construction projects and the overall impact on our cities and county. Previously, I have discussed schools that were built that we did not need instead of building schools in areas that most definitely needed them. I have also discussed the salary schedules for elementary, middle and high school principals and other district employees. While my salary posts have attracted over 55,000 views on one post alone and a great interest statewide, what I look at is probably different from the general public. I hope to present some facts and figures over 2-3 posts to explain some of the concerns.

In Olive Branch, there has been a long and ongoing battle over the original redistricting that was done to our community and the construction of the Lewisburg and Center Hill Schools. I hope that the enrollment numbers spreadsheet, that I am sharing here, will help to show you why there have been concerns and what is happening to our schools as a result of the changes made. I don’t want to overwhelm you with information on this first post. I know most people’s attention spans these days are short and too much information is undesirable. So, here are some things to consider when reviewing this first document – DCS Student Enrollment Over 5 Years:

1. Compare the number of students that each middle school principal (for example) has compared to other middle school principals. Do the same thing for the elementary and high school schools since they have been paid based on their classification of elementary, middle or high school principal.

2. Compare the enrollment numbers of these same schools to see how some high schools (for example) may have 1800-1900 students while others may have just over 1000 students. Are there schools that could be combined or areas where only one new school was necessary?

3. Review the OB and Horn Lake schools which are the only 2 school systems in the district to have constant decreases in enrollment.

4. Compare the total district growth to individual schools or system of schools’ growth or decreases to see what impact they have had on our county overall.

5. Consider why Olive Branch, which is less populated overall and less populated of school aged students, has 3 1/2 high schools compared to Southaven which is more populated and has only 1 1/2 high schools for their students.

6. Consider what kind of impact school enrollment increases and decreases will have or are having on our local economies, property values and other overall affects on the community.

7. Note that the decreases in the OB schools presented here occurred several years after the original redistricting that took students out of our schools and placed them in Lewisburg, Center Hill and DeSoto Central schools.

These are just a few points to consider and food for thought. I will provide more information later and after you have had time to review this first document. I hope that our DeSoto County citizens will realize that what happens in one city or community within the county most definitely will have an impact on the other cities and communities within our county. You can move from one set of schools to another within the county, but in doing so, you aren’t going to fix or avoid the problems that you are running from. You are simply delaying the inevitable. We need to work together as a whole to make sure all of our schools are successful and our communities are strong.

Please share your thoughts and questions below.  All of the numbers and information provided here came directly from the MS Department of Education.  Here is a link to the information:  http://mdereports.mdek12.org/data/.
Here is a link to the document below online: https://app.box.com/s/xucks3r2g0ppbr95ohjadab6crfblri6.


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