The news keeps getting better for Bossier Parish schools as the district marked its eighth straight year of enrollment growth.
The district's Oct. 1 preliminary enrollment number was 22,038, up from 21,689 in the 2012-13 school year.
Just last week Bossier moved into the top 10 districts in the state for academic performance, with seven schools listed among the "Top Gains Schools."
As one of the fastest growing parishes in the state, Bossier has been steadily adding and expanding campuses, primarily in north Bossier and Haughton. Growth also has been picking toward the south. So far, voters have been largely supportive.
"A $210 million bond was passed in 2012 which will enable us to build a new elementary school in Benton, a new Haughton Middle School, convert the current Haughton Middle School into an elementary school, considerably expand and renovate Airline High School and construct the Bossier Parish School for Technology and Innovative Learning,'' Sonja Bailes, public relations liaison for the district, stated in an email. And that's just phase I.
DeSoto Parish, the other steadily growing northwest Louisiana district, hit a bump this year. DeSoto's preliminary 5,148 enrollment was about 100 lower than last year. However, Superintendent Cade Brumley said the district expects its formal Oct. 31 enrollment number now to be a little more -- 5,157.
The story in DeSoto has been sagging enrollment in the south and surging growth in the north around Stonewall.
"As more subdivisions open, with several currently under construction in the northern part of our parish, we anticipate a continued increase in student enrollment,'' said Brumley. He declined to speculate on the reasons for decline, though activity surrounding natural gas exploration has abated.
Having struggled with financial issues over the past year, Brumley noted that DeSoto is succeeding academically. The district moved from the 29th ranking in the state to 23rd and earned a letter grade of B. Three schools also moved off the academically unacceptable list.
"We are proud of the work taking place in our schools," Brumley said.
Caddo Parish schools, the region's largest, continued a 10-year enrollment decline posting a 40,735 preliminary number. Contributing to that 800-student drop was the opening of Magnolia Charter School with an enrollment of more than 500 students. Two other charter middles schools, Linear and Linwood, already pull an additional 500 students out of the district.
Caddo, home to some of the strongest schools in the state, is steadily preoccupied with others that are academically unacceptable. Though 10 schools this year came off the unacceptable list, five of 15 failing schools face state takeover.
The district's latest hope resides with a new superintendent, Caddo native Theodis Lamar Goree, who was hired Friday to replace Gerald Dawkins whose contract was not renewed. Goree is now with the school district in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Webster Parish enrollment also remained in its own eight-year decline, with a near 100 student decline. Webster also is searching for a new superintendent.
Send your news tip or story idea to the KTBS 3 Newsroom. Enter your email address below to get started.