Hobbs News Sun

Hobbs Schools back at record enrollment

Hobbs Schools enrollment is at a record high, again.

Two years ago the district surpassed the 10,000 students mark for a brief time, but enrollment fell as the oilfield turned sour. Now enrollment has once again surpassed the 10,000 mark.

The district reported that as of the 40th day of school, it is serving 10,070 students, an increases of more than one percent over the enrollment when school was out last spring, Kerri Gray, chief financial officer of the district said.

“We budgeted on the basis that we would have some growth,” Gray said. “But we didn’t know we would have this kind of growth,”

The growth means the district will see extra funding this year. “Anytime you grown more than one percent, you get growth money,” Gray said.

Earlier this week, superintendent TJ Parks said the Hobbs school district’s finances are in very good condition. On the agenda for the next school board meeting is a request from Parks for a one time payment of $500 to each school district employee. The Parks’ letter to the board requesting the funds, reads “Hobbs Municipal Schools projected growth of one hundred twenty-five (125) membership when building the 2017-18 budget. We have exceeded the projection by an additional thirty-four

(34) members. The one time cost of living adjustment can be justified by our staff spending additional time assisting more students. During the past six years Hobbs Municipal Schools has grown by 1,000 students. The increase of students has caused our class loads to increase, which results in additional time and effort on our staff. We have had a difficult time filling all teaching positions therefore many of our staff are teaching overloads as well. This onetime compensation may allow us to retain existing staff and help recruit others to come to Hobbs …”

Hobbs is not the only district on the rise. Jal saw a one percent increase as well although school officials could not provide an exact figure.

Lovington, where enrollment is down by an estimated 52 students to 3,656, is likely to lose some funding for this school year.

Enrollment figures for Tatum and Eunice were not available at press time.

Next year’s budget, for the 2018-19 school year for all school districts in New Mexico will be calculated on the basis of enrollment on the 80th and 120th days of school. Districts are allowed in the budgeting process to project some growth, but if the growth is less than the projection, they must make appropriate budget adjustments.