Friday, September 26, 2014

Early CMS enrollment numbers leaves questions unanswered

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools released an early count this past week of how many students are enrolled in the district, and it seems to have raised more questions than it answers.

The district reported that it had 145,112 enrolled on its 20th day, which was last Monday. That's an unofficial figure until the state Department of Public Instruction compiles numbers from every North Carolina county and publishes them all. Generally, that's sometime in October.

CMS declined to give me a demographic breakdown of the student body. The N.C. charter school office said it couldn't provide any early enrollment numbers. That leaves a few key questions open for the next month.

1) Did charter school enrollment really come in below expectations? That certainly was the implication from CMS officials at the school board meeting Tuesday. Anecdotally, we've found that several of the 11 Charlotte-area did in fact come in below their projections. 

This will mark the second year that a significant number of new charters have opened up after the state legislature lifted the long-standing cap. The 20th day figures there will show whether they're catching on or struggling.

2) Will CMS grab a larger share of the county's students? Hand in hand with that, the official numbers will help show what the new charter schools will do to the CMS "market share." That refers to the percentage of students in the county attend the public school system as opposed to private schools or charters.

As of last year, CMS lagged behind several other major urban districts in North Carolina, according to figures published by Wake County business group Wake Education Partnership this past week.

About 79.1 percent of students in Mecklenburg County attended CMS, compared with 10.8 percent in private schools, 6 percent in charters and 4.1 percent home schools.

CMS had a smaller market share than the public school systems in Wake, Forsyth and Guilford counties, but exceeded that of Durham County.

That's below the goal the district set out for itself. Last year, CMS projected it would hold an 81 percent market share through 2021. That was a key provision of their capital need projections.

On the flip side, CMS has more students this year than those projections called for the district to have. They were counting on 144,209 in that plan.

3) Where are the new students? I'm also after a school-by-school enrollment breakdown that will show us where in the county the biggest jumps occurred. A number of readers have also asked me whether an influx of immigrants from Mexico and Central America is a part of the unexpectedly high enrollment numbers this year. Yes, Charlotte has hundreds of children coming to the city from those areas.

CMS does not verify the immigration status of children looking to enroll. Some groups will use the number of English as a Second Language students as a rough approximation of immigration. CMS would not provide a number of ESL students this year, deferring to the official report.


Anonymous said...

All those "ILLEAGAL" students pay nothing into the school system.It will equal overcrowded classrooms with less teachers because of the lack of funding.It will mean that more breakfast is eaten without being paid for.It will lead to the lack of school nurses being over burdened and the possiblily of outbreaks of viruses because of the lack of shots and such. Then they go to the emergency room where by law they will be treated which will equal my insurance premium and hospital costs going up because SOMEBODY eventually has to pay for all of this. There is never ever any free lunch in this world. The bill has to be eventually be paid.Guess which hard working leagal American the bill falls on ?

Anonymous said...

The bigger question is do you actually believe the CMS baked number? It seems every year in a effort to increase the budget numbers CMS throws out a high number on enrollment. That number will change to the lower side in the future. Your new at this so just a history lesson for you. How hard would it actually be for CMS to do a count of enrolled students? If they were half organized about 3-4 hours so minimal effort to get a true accounting. KW HURLEY

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding? Try to get an actual butts in the chairs count on the first day? That would be like herding cats. Better idea-just wait until the 20th day and the number that comes out of the computer.

Anonymous said...

Well 10:48, it won't fall on those living in red states, as those are the people that suck up the most government assistance.

Oh wait, that's probably not what you were trying to prove was it? It's always a shame when facts get in the way, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

didn't it take CMS almost a year to put together the enrollment numbers per school last year. I would be very concerned about a school system that can't accurately record basic information by the 20th day of school.

Anonymous said...

8:19 the republican legislature eliminated the adm count of which you speak. Funding is no longer based on a formula that takes into account growth.

That provision was snuck in at the 11th hour. Just wait until next budget season when the republicans blow their own horns from the highest hills to show how THEY increased education spending even though they didn't have to. (Because they screwed kids this year, that is)

Same BS as the so-called best ever raise given to NC teachers.

I think obi wan kenobi was thinking of our legislature when he said "you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."

Anonymous said...

10:47 Maybe Obi wan Kenobi was thinking more ISIS, than the state legislature. Let's keep it real.

Anonymous said...


Damn Lies

Wiley Coyote said...

Of course they didn't give you any demographic data.

That will most likely come sometime in May of 2015.

Another year of CMS deflection and coverup, yet voters still blindly vote to waste more tax dollars on CMS year after year.

Anonymous said...

my question is about charter schools. Why can't the charter office provide the enrollment numbers for charter schools. After all, it is not like they have hundreds of schools and are teaching over a 150K students. Could it be because they choose not to make their enrollment figures public?

Wiley Coyote said...

Since our BOE has become mute over the last few years, perhaps they can open their mouths and tell us when they plan to sue the Federal Government for the funds to educate the hundreds of ILLEGALS they are sending to our schools without our consent or ability to pay for them...

Anonymous said...

Ther residents of certain zip codes are the ones that should be filing a lawsuit. How can you justify spending 3X as much per pupil as other zip codes.

Private 55 million diverted to the Westside is one thing,but the other is CRIMINAL.

Anonymous said...

What steals more money out of the pockets of the citizens in Charlotte?

Churches such as Elevation or the CMS "ITS FOR THE CHILDREN" Board of Education

You make the call

Anonymous said...


What about the 2 suburban schools in Denver,CO that have been shut down because of a teacher "sick out"? Something many of the teachers in CMS should consider and if they had the guts would activate.

Anonymous said...

anon 3:48,
thus is the reason for white flight from CMS schools, the focus on redistribution of wealth.

Anonymous said...

Wiley, it will never happen. The BOE is a bunch of drones and they only act in unison now. I can't imagine any one of them having such an original thought. They defer decisions to the opinion of the board member who "represents" that district and vote accordingly to show how well they play together. It's ridiculous.