CHIPLEY - Student enrollment numbers are stabilizing.
At Monday's School Board meeting, student enrollment numbers showed no change over two reporting periods. The district has maintained an enrollment count of 3,354.
"We're pleased that our numbers are holding up with all of the things going on," Superintendent Joseph Taylor said. "It gives us a confident feeling going into next year."
Bay County's school district suffered as a result to Hurricane Michael, mothballing four schools and combining others. While Washington County District Schools welcomed a handful of students from neighboring counties hit hard by the storm, Taylor said the stabilization is not the direct result of a single thing.
Last year, the district added a new school, Washington Academy for Varying Exceptionalities, which brought in special needs students that were enrolled in Hope School in Marianna. The district also looked to promote virtual school. Most recent reports show an increase in home school, as well.
According to enrollment reports, student count started declining in 2014 with 127 fewer than the previous school year. From there, numbers fluctuated - taking a dip again in August last year with 3,247 students, which is one student less than the 2014 count that marked the decline.
Last fall, Florida Department of Education had predicted the numbers would continue to decline by 85 students. However, an August report for the 2018-19 school year showed 3,390 students enrolled - the highest the district had seen in five school years.