Shelby County schools continue to see growth in enrollment

High enrollment at Shelby Co. schools

SHELBY COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Shelby County schools are once again seeing a growth in their enrollment.

"It looks like that we're about 350ish students up this year," said Cindy Warner, Shelby County Schools spokesperson.

That is typical for what the system has seen the last few years, and coincides with the overall growth the county has seen.

"It speaks well that Shelby County is known for just a great place to live and to raise families," said Warner.

For example, just a few weeks ago, Chelsea High School opened a brand new wing that includes 20 new classrooms.

Warner says Chelsea, Helena, and Calera have been the fastest growing school zones, but this year, they've even seen growth in the areas of Oak Mountain and Columbiana.

Ask most city and county leaders, growth is a good problem to have.  However, at the same time there are challenges that come with it and school systems are not immune.

"Essentially you're always getting paid a year behind," said Warner on the subject of state funding.

The money she said is paid out based on the previous year's enrollment numbers.

"So it does make it a little challenging when the next year you're getting funded for this many students from the year before, and you've had this kind of growth," she said.

However, the system is also able to plan out and anticipate some of the needs.

"We try to stay on top of it by being very proactive with our strategic planning and our capital planning," said Warner.

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