Wake County school officials announced today that the school system’s official enrollment grew by 1,893 students from last year’s total.
School officials say the enrollment on the 20th-day of classes was 139,599 students, compared to 137,706 students at that same time last year. School districts use the 20th-day figures to report an official enrollment to the state for funding purposes.
The school district based the budget on having 140,012 students. Whether county commissioners ask for money back from the school system for those 413 students is debatable.
The district had been lowering its projections since the budget. In August, the enrollment was projected at 139,726 students.
Wake remains the largest school district in the state and the 18th-largest in the United States. Wake is behind the Montgomery County School System in Maryland, which has 142,409 students this year.
Wake picked up students even as the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system, the second-largest in North Carolina, lost students. Charlotte had 133,664 students, down almost 400 from last year.
Wake saw its smallest net growth in new students since the 1990-91 school year. School officials have attributed the slower growth to the recession and a new state law that required students to be at least 5-years-old by Aug. 31 to enter kindergarten.
Because year-round schools had their 20th-day of classes earlier than traditional-calendar schools, school officials say they actually have more students than what they’re officially reporting. On Sept. 22, which was the 20th-day of classes for traditional-calendar schools, Wake had 140,234 students that day because of growth from year-round schools.