PB enrollment rises following years of decline


The Pine Bluff School District enrollment numbers show an increase after several years of decline outlined in the annual report to the public for the 2011-2012 school year.

The preliminary enrollment count for the 2012-13 school year, according to the district, is 4,473***.

The district’s report shows:

• 4,452 students in the 2011-2012 school year

• 4,573 students in the 2010-2011 school year

• 4,744 students in the 2009-2010 school year

• 4,821 students in the 2008-2009 school year

• 4,916 students in the 2007-2008 school year

“This decrease impacts the amount of state aid the district receives based on average daily membership,” the report said.

The district recently released its written annual report for the 2011-2012 school year that was originally presented at the Nov. 13 monthly school board meeting.

Interim superintendent Linda Watson said that the delay in publishing the report was due to her need to go through and verify all information included within it because she was brought on at the very end of the time period chronicled in the report.

“I wanted to make sure that everything in it was as accurate as possible since most of what is in the report occurred before I arrived in the district,” Watson said recently.

The report provides a breakdown of each department within the district including programs and projects; special education; gifted and talented; student enrollment; employees; maintenance, transportation, and food service; and finance and budget.

Also included are major accomplishments; benchmark exam scores; and a list of district-wide business partners.

Finance and budget

The report said that during the 2011-2012 school year total revenues were $49,848,511; and total expenditures were $49,358,738.

The report said that the district is working to control expenditures through teacher attrition and retirement to help offset the reduction in revenue caused by the steady decline in student enrollment.

“Strategies are continually being implemented to improve the financial status of the school district,” the report said. “Enrollment in the district continues to decline. The district lost 121 students for the 2011-2012 school year.”

Maintenance, transportation and food service

The report said that the district completed two partnership projects during the summer of 2011, including a $637,161 heating and cooling system project at the PBHS Arts Building; and the $118,183 re-roofing project at Southeast Middle School.

The district began a $370,000 upgrade on the elevators at the PBSD Administrative Office to bring them up to state standards.

Several school bus routes were eliminated by combining and rerouting, according to the report, with the district purchasing a bus routing software package for more efficient service.

The report said that 20 surveillance cameras have been purchased with another 15 authorized for purchase, to be installed on school buses.

The district has also implemented a bus replacement schedule.

The food service department is implementing software that has automated the fiscal operations in all district cafeterias, with students using ID badges tied to their individual student accounts to record meal information.

District employees

Statistics provided in the report show that 25 percent of district teachers have bachelor of arts degrees; 15 percent have BA’s plus 18 years of service; 10 percent have master of arts degrees; eight percent have MA’s plus 15 years of service; and 15 percent have MA’s plus 30 years of service.

All principals in the district are classified as African American; while 70 percent of teachers are classified as African American and 30 percent are classified as other.

A total of 432 teachers are employed by the district and four of them are nationally board certified, according to the report.

The report also highlighted 2011-12 Teacher of the Year Leondra Williams-Savage.

Test scores

“Our students improved in literacy district-wide; elementary five percent, middle school 11 percent, junior high 18 percent and senior high seven percent,” Watson wrote in the introduction to the report. “The district showed some improvement in mathematics; elementary three percent and junior high 10 percent.”

Programs and projects

The report stated that the district is committed to providing its students and instructors with all of the support necessary to achieve student success.

“Recognizing that instruction is equally as important as curriculum, the district is committed to building the capacity of PBSD educators through professional development that supports teaching and learning,” the report said.

The report stated that under the K-12 Comprehensive Reading Initiative, literacy coaches work with students; and under the Standards-Based Math Program, mastery math learning and accelerated math programs are utilized to help students.

Special education

“The District’s Special Education Department has implemented the Arkansas Co-Teaching Model at the secondary schools,” the report said. “Co-teaching is an educational approach in which two teachers work in a co-active and coordinated fashion to jointly teach academically and behaviorally heterogeneous groups of students in an integrated setting.”

Major accomplishments

Major accomplishments listed include various tutorial sessions, summer school, ACT prep course, and the College Preparatory Enrichment Program among others.

Gifted and talented

Information provided in the report indicated that 380 kindergarten students were provided with enrichment activities; while 197 1st through 5th grade students were provided gifted and talented activities for 150 minutes a week.

The report said that 127 6th grade through 9th grade pre-advanced placement students were given instruction through the gifted and talented program.

The activities of 10th through 12th graders included the fielding of three Destination Imagination teams, with the 10th grade team winning the regional competition; and Pine Bluff High School senior honor students finishing 22nd out of 79 teams in the Global Finals.

Business partners

Some of the area businesses that partnered with the school district include Central Moloney, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Simmons First National Bank and United Family Services.

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***This article has been updated for its original version because of a correction to some of the enrollment numbers. Click here to view the correction notice.