Pulaski County Special School District Administrative Offices
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- After years of declining enrollment, the Pulaski County Special School District is seeing a change in pace. Enrollment is up and administrators hope this trend will continue.
Three weeks into the new school year and many schools in Pulaski County are still making room for students.
Superintendent Dr. Jerry Guess says the Pulaski County Special School district is up 400 more students from last year, including a full house at Crystal Hill Elementary.
"It's true here at Crystal Hill and it's true at many of the other schools in the district. Many schools in the Jacksonville area are full and can literally take no more students."
Dr. Guess says the district opened a few new schools last year, including Maumelle High, which he believes may have accounted for some growth.
No new schools this year, but Guess says they did invest 8-million dollars in improvements over the summer.
"I think parents have seen that public schools are a great place to put their children. We've got a lot of things happening in the Pulaski County Special School District. We are out in the lead in terms of curriculum development, professional development. "
Administrators are confident that a variety of subjects and extracurricular activities are luring parents and students back to their neighborhood schools. Dr. Guess says this is an exciting time for the district.
"I've talked to private and charter school parents who are eager to return to public schools because they have seen that the academics in the public school is of high quality and they also know that they're getting additional services in the public schools that they are not getting in the private and charter schools."
At Crystal Hill alone there are 100 additional students and 4 extra teachers. With numbers up across the board, the district needs to add 20 new teachers, which will increase costs.
But Dr. Guess says it's a problem he's willing to accept.
"We're certainly concerned with holding that increase. Having an additional 400 students on that eighth day of school is nice, but we need to serve those students all year long."