Moultrie Observer

Local News

February 7, 2008

Trend: Whites make up less of student body

MOULTRIE — By the end of the next school year, there will be fewer white students than non-whites in Colquitt County schools.

By school year 2009-10, Colquitt County Schools is expected to enroll 9,222 students, up from 8,440 enrolled this year. The district’s student population has been trending upward over the past four years, with a leap of 240 students to 8,440 from 2006-07 to 2007-08. Next school year, the population is set to leap again to 8,831.

From October 1996 to September 2007, the district’s population demographic has shifted. District data shows that in 1996 the student population was 8,327 with 60 percent white, 33 percent black 6 percent Hispanic and 1 percent multiracial.

The demographic shifted this year to 52 percent white, 30 percent black, 16 percent Hispanic and 3 percent multiracial. Some of the shift in these figures could be because of a change in classification that split multiracial children from the main racial categories. These statistics don’t include a tiny percentage of Asian and American Indian students.

Birth statistics at Colquitt Regional Medical Center in the last several years support the trend. By the 2009-2010 school year, babies born in 2005 will be entering the system at the prekindergarten level. Out of 714 babies born at CRMC in 2005, 44 percent were white, 29 percent were black, 24 percent Hispanic and 3 percent other. In 2006 out of 730 births, 41 percent were white, 29 percent black, 26 percent Hispanic and 4 percent other. In 2007 out of 761 babies born, 40 percent were white, 29 percent were black and 25 percent Hispanic with six percent other.

The shift in demographics won’t necessarily mean a protracted need for special services, such as English as a second language instruction and migrant instruction, said Colquitt County Schools Superintendent Leonard McCoy. The initial upswing in the Hispanic population that prompted a spike in need for services will taper off, he said.

“As more and more Hispanic students are year-round residents, as a higher percentage of them are American citizens, language becomes less of an issue, so it’s more services for children but not just for a special group of children,” he said.

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