MCPS school enrollment increasing

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As students across the country embark upon their academic quests, they will notice some new faces flooding the halls that consequently will seem more crowded than usual. Enrollment in county schools is increasing astronomically. Again.
While the enrollment in Montgomery County Public Schools has been steadily increasing for years, the county’s student population is now larger than ever before. According to mcpsmd.org, there are now roughly 159,000 students in the system, which is more than a 2,500 student up-tick from a year ago, when there were 156,500 registered students. The enrollment totals are projected by the county to continue on this upward trend for the next six years.
This year’s increase in enrollment is nothing the county has not seen before; steady population increases have been a normal mark. The steady influx of new students every year is a major contributing factor to why Montgomery County is the biggest county in the state and the 15th largest in the country.
In terms of grade level enrollment increases, the only underwhelming total was the 546 new elementary students, a total that marks a stalled increase as a direct result of a trough in county births since 2008. Middle school enrollment has increased by 898 students, while county high schools saw a staggering 1,100 student increase.
Despite the aforementioned county growth, local feeder schools display the drastically different relative changes compared to the overarching county numbers. Cabin John had a net gain of one student from last year to this year, while Robert Frost failed to register any gain at all, now housing 17 fewer students than last year. The student populations at Cabin John and Robert Frost are now 942 and 1095 students respectively.
“I still have connections to Frost and I have to say the class sizes do look a lot smaller than from when I went there. Sure it is only a 20 or so student difference in the school, but it is definitely noticeable,” junior Jason Eisen said.
This year’s feeder middle school numbers could affect this school in the future, causing it to not increase in size with accordance to overall county trajectory. Despite a modest 23 student increase from last year to this year, this school could have trouble fielding a student increase since outgoing classes will outnumber the ones incoming from the middle schools.
While some look at the increase in enrollment as a good thing, it can be viewed in a negative light as well. More students in the halls can lead to things such as increased class sizes and a lesser availability of extracurricular help, causing some students to pause at the notion of higher school attendance.
“MCPS is overpopulated, plain and simple,” sophomore Kory Steinberg said.
The increases also will have effects on the county budget. More students mean more money will have to be allocated toward classroom materials and school upkeep.
The last time school enrollment totals increased this dramatically, elective courses were cut to compensate, and the action could happen again.
“It can be an issue because it’s a lot more money being put into the budget for students,” junior Preston Shay said.

 

Peter Hechler

News Editor