Prince George’s County has lost an average of 1,000 students a year since the 2003-2004 school year.
This year, it gained.
According to school officials, there are 667 more students sitting in Prince George’ County public school classrooms this year.
School officials told members of the County Council during a briefing Tuesday afternoon that enrollment as of Sept. 14 was 124,500 students. Last year, the county recorded 123,833 students.
Council member Mary Lehman (D-Laurel) said she was happy to learn that the school system obtained enrollment figures before the Sept. 30 deadline, when the information has to be released to the state.
“I believe we start school before most schools in the area,” Lehman said. “And I think you should count the kids sooner to know where you need teachers.”
The gains pale in comparison to what other suburban school systems are experiencing in the Washington region. For example, Montgomery County projected an enrollment of 149,000 students this fall, an increase of 2,500 students over last year.
But the preliminary numbers are good news for the Prince George’s school system, which has lost more students over the past eight years than its peers in the region.
At its peak, the county had 137,285 students. But with more parents choosing to send their children to private schools and educating them children at home, the school system has seen a steady decline.
Other tidbits from the first briefing since school started last month: The school system has 125 teacher vacancies (28 of them are special education teachers) and the average student to teacher ratio for a kindergarten class is 22:1.