COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools had its first day of school Tuesday, and the number of students in the school district continues to rise. The preliminary enrollment number for the 2017-2018 school year is 18,585 students, which is a 294 student increase from the 2016-2017 school year.
CPS is the seventh largest school district in Missouri, and according to Michelle Baumstark, the community relations director said CPS was expecting around 18,000 students for this school year.
"We’ve seen significant growth in our community over the last 10 years, and we expect that we’ll have around 18 thousand students, and we’ve been slowly climbing each year," Baumstark said.
According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, CPS's official enrollment in 2016 was 17,963, which is approximately 1,300 more students than CPS had enrolled 10 years ago. Although CPS will only have preliminary enrollment numbers from the first day, the district expects an influx of students.
“We’ll have some preliminary figures that won’t take into consideration: adds, drops, late arrivals. But we’ll do our best to get the first day count of what we are experiencing in our buildings,” Baumstark said. “The first couple of weeks for any school district is time for them to address any new students who we didn’t expect and be able to make adjustments to make sure that all of our class sizes are manageable.”
Baumstark said once official numbers are in, CPS will either add an additional aide to classrooms or split up classrooms if need be.
DESE sets the standards and desirable classroom sizes for the entire state to follow. Those numbers vary by grade level and type of class (i.e. core class or elective).
“Our schools average 13:1 for student to teacher ratio, 18:1 for classroom student ratio, and 230:1 administration to students,” Baumstark said. “We really work hard to make sure that we are providing a wonderful education for our students in the classroom, so we try to maintain desirable or better than desirable class sizes.”
KOMU 8 News spoke to multiple parents while picking up their children from school Tuesday, and none of them seemed to be concerned with the current classroom sizes, although enrollment numbers continue to grow.