Home Education 80-day numbers show decrease in Hobbs students

80-day numbers show decrease in Hobbs students

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Hobbs Municipal Schools Board of Directors heard the finalized 80-day numbers for student enrollment, and the number of students enrolled is at its lowest point in more than five years.

The numbers, previously presented, were finalized on Jan. 19, but presented to the board at the regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.

The 80-day enrollment numbers comparison to last year shows a decrease in student enrollment of about 824 students, Assistant Superintendent of Data Analysis Renee Cantu told the board.

2020-2021 80-day enrollment was 9,753 compared to 2019-2020 80-day enrollment numbers of 10,577.

The current 120-day numbers show the downward trend in enrollment numbers continuing, according to Cantu’s report.

The 120th day of school was Feb. 10. Those numbers will be finalized in the next month.

2020-2021 120-day enrollment numbers show 9,610 students versus 2019-2020 120-day enrollment numbers of 10,577 — a decrease of about 967 students, Cantu told the board.

“That’s more than we thought,” board president Gary Eidson said when presented with the information.

When asked by Eidson about state funding, because school districts are funded from the state based on enrollment numbers, HMS Superintendent TJ Parks said there are several possibilities being looked at by the state. Some of those proposals are more likely than others he said.

“They would fund us on our current enrollment, and in order to get to where we were, currently, you’d have to project growth,” Parks told the board. “If they don’t come back, we’re down $4 million. Very troublesome.”

Parks said of those students the district is down, about 250 are currently home schooled, and are likely to come back when schools are re-opened for students for face-to-face learning full time.

But, about 450 students have moved just across the state lines into Texas to attend full-time regular school, since New Mexico Schools have been closed to them for about a year.

“Those families, we don’t know what’s going to happen,” Parks said.

“When we’re working on a budget, how do you prepare a budget on that?” Eidson asked.

Parks sighed and said, “Well…”

Those in attendance chuckled nervously.

“You can do it, but it’s not fun,” Parks continued.

In other agenda items the HMS board approved the facility masterplan that was begun more than a year ago, approved a memorandum of agreement with the City of Hobbs for a grant to be used for the construction of the career technical education center, and heard re-entry plans for the Freshman High School and College Lane Elementary.

Elementary schools were able to have students back in cohorts A and B starting last week, on Feb. 8.

“We had to bring the kids in and used the marks on the floor to keep them six feet apart,” Freshman High School Principal Lana Weldy said. “We do know kids are ready to be back in the buildings. We’re excited to have them back in the buildings.”

“I think the building is glad to have them back in the building,” HMS board vice president Peggy Appleton answered to laughter from the audience.

Eidson asked if students were good about practicing social distancing, and Weldy said they had done well.

“So far so good. They’ve been really good about not hugging,” Weldy said.

College Lane Elementary School Principal Susan Flowers said students at that level also did well with re-entry.

“It went very well last week,” Flowers told board members via Zoom. “It was essentially a larger version of our 5-to-1 (ratio of students to teachers when the schools were previously allowed to have cohorts of 3rd grade and below students for face-to-face learning). We were very happy to see or fourth and fifth graders back on campus. … It felt like being a little bit back to normal.”

Blake Ovard may be reached at managingeditor@hobbsnews.com .

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