Lunenburg County schools see enrollment drop

Published 8:30 am Friday, November 4, 2022

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VICTORIA – Like most divisions around the Commonwealth, Lunenburg County schools face a loss of students and a possible loss in state funding.

As of Monday, Oct. 31, the school’s enrollment was down 31 students from the division budgeted enrollment of 1520, which was finalized at the end of the school year in May. That’s according to Lunenburg County Public Schools (LCPS) Assistant Superintendent for Operations and Finance James Abernathy Jr.

Abernathy said enrollment began declining since the return to school from COVID last year.

“There are 117 students who are currently homeschooled, and some students have moved out of the county,” he said. “If our average daily membership (enrollment) stays at 1489 through March 31, we could lose $250,000 in state funding.”

According to Abernathy, LCPS receives approximately $8,200 from the state per student.

“Our enrollment last year was 1509,” Abernathy said. “The state projected our enrollment for the current school year to be 1528 and we based our budget on 1520 students.”

Why did students leave Lunenburg County schools?

Though COVID may have been a reason for the low enrollment, Abernathy said the school threat in September had nothing to do with the drop in enrollment.

But for one Victoria mother of three whose children were enrolled at LCPS, the school threat had a lot to do with the fact that she is now homeschooling her children once again.

Kristina Marshburn said not only did the threat deter her from sending her children back to school she also wanted them to be free thinkers and to be able to learn multiple cultures or history and base their own opinions.

“Also, my kids need a more catered curriculum for them to learn,” she said. “ I feel like my kids wouldn’t be getting the attention needed for proper growth as much as I could give them. A teacher has about 20-30 kids, depending on the class. And they can not focus on each individual child the whole time.”

Loss of students is not the only thing LCPS is dealing with.

The school division still has five full-time teaching positions that have not been filled due to what

Abernathy says is a “scarcity of applicants for these positions.”

According to LCPS, many of those students enrolled in classes without a teacher are taking classes through Virtual Virginia.