Schools see increase in student population

By RUDY COGGINS
Of The Record Staff
Posted 9/16/22

Harnett County Schools experienced an increase in enrollment, according to 10-day average daily membership (ADM) numbers released during the monthly board of education meeting Tuesday.

A total of …

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Schools see increase in student population

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Harnett County Schools experienced an increase in enrollment, according to 10-day average daily membership (ADM) numbers released during the monthly board of education meeting Tuesday.

A total of 19,769 students are attending HCS this academic year, an increase of 725 from a year ago.

“Students have started back to school and other than typical issues we see the first two weeks such as traffic and bus routes, it has started well,” said Dr. Aaron Fleming, superintendent of HCS. “I’m happy with our growth considering all that we have been through with covid. As expected, our proficiency scores are lower than we care to see. We still have some work to do, but I appreciate the schools’ hard work.”

The current ADM is also higher than 19,077 students in 2020-21, but lower than 19,940, which was recorded pre-covid in 2019-20.

Monica Thompson, assistant superintendent for human resources, told the board that half of the county’s 28 schools are fully staffed with classroom personnel. She said 19 teaching positions remain open. Three of those spots could be filled by teacher assistants in December after they complete their student-teaching requirements.

“Good work has been done, but there is more work to do,” Thompson said. “[HCS] almost tripled the hiring that we normally do during the summer. Everyone worked super hard this summer to make sure those positions were filled.”

HCS started a new salary scale for 2021-22.

Thompson said one objective was to add state experience credit and relevant experience credit. A total of 260 employees will benefit from either state experience ($100 to $6,000 yearly) or relevant experience ($300 to $5,000 yearly).

“It’s really exciting to be able to include these two things going forward because it allows us to give relevant and state experience for new hires, which makes us more competitive in the job market,” Thompson said. “Previously before this, everyone started at the same place when they were hired.”

A few bus routes remain vacant, according to Fleming.

Deputy Superintendent Brooks Matthews said that the new roof is nearly complete at Northwest Harnett, and work on the electrical and plumbing systems has started.

Matthews said phase II of construction at Johnsonville Elementary is underway. He added that phase I, which was renovation of the dining room and cafeteria, was not ready when the school opened. Child nutrition personnel have been preparing lunches at other sites and taking to the school.

Traffic on N.C. Highway 210 near Harnett Central Middle School remains a problem.Teachers are getting caught in traffic because parents are lining up earlier to drop off their children. Matthews said that they are currently working on logistics to alleviate the situation.

Rudy Coggins can be reached at rcoggins@mountolivetribune.com or at 910-230-2038.

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