By now, we'd normally know how many students Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and other districts have. N.C. public schools take their official enrollment count on the 20th day of school, which was Sept. 23.
But as of Thursday, the 38th day of school, nothing had been reported. The principals' monthly report for September, the formal document that contains the 20th day numbers, has been held up statewide because of problems with PowerSchool, the data system for all public schools in North Carolina.
Superintendent Heath Morrison says CMS knows how many students it has and feels confident in the numbers. On Monday, staff said they could give me the unofficial enrollment count, but that hasn't happened yet. Update: Friday afternoon CMS released its total enrollment: 144,140 in K-12, an increase of about 3,000 over last year and about 300 more than projected. The district has not yet released demographics or school-by-school numbers.
Vanessa Jeter, spokeswoman for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, said the state anticipates having the problem fixed this week, which by now means today. But we've heard that from local officials for at least the last three weeks, so I'm not holding my breath. Update: CMS now says they're expecting the PowerSchool problem to be resolved "within the next two weeks."
Jeter says the delay in official reporting isn't holding up state money for schools. But Morrison said this week that it does create some snarls. For instance, he said, until the state releases enrollment for charter schools, CMS has to pass along county money based on the numbers in their applications. In some cases that's off quite a bit. Invest Collegiate, for instance, applied to open with 558 students, hoping to lease the former Professional Development Center from CMS. When that didn't happen, the charter resorted to modular classrooms that could only hold about 100 students.
So stay tuned. Surely we'll get the numbers sometime soon.
And if anyone missed Thursday's online chat about CMS and CPCC bonds, you can read the questions and answers here.