School board talks about disenrollment

Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 03:00 PM.

The Franklin County School Board, as well as a Carrabelle community activist who delivered a sharp critique, focused March 7 on how the schools can come to terms with an issue often not publicly addressed – the troubling problem of county students migrating to other schools, and other school districts, for their educations.

Members of the school board grilled Superintendent Nina Marks, and Assistant Principal Eric Bidwell, on enrollment projections, and learned that the district is projecting a total of 1,086 students next year, which includes the nearly 350 students enrolled at the k-8 Apalachicola Bay Charter School.

This would be more than 60 fewer students than are currently enrolled, which is about 1,148 students.

Bidwell said the district lost four students over the previous week. He was asked to outline how the school district keeps track of the reasons students and their parents say they are leaving.

“Most has been academic struggles; the child has actually been behind. A lot of times it’s a problem between two students,” he said. “We need ROTC, we need the building program, we need some things to keep these kids in school. We have to have some strategies to keep these students in school.”

Marks said several students have moved to the First Baptist Christian School.

School board member Teresa Ann Martin suggested teachers have to shoulder some of the responsibility for the problem. “If they’re not teaching it well to the student, it’s frustrating to the student,” she said. “It’s not always the student’s fault with something like that.”

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