Bibb Schools enrollment hits five-year high


Grant Blankenship | GPB

The cafeteria at Bibb County’s Rutland High school in 2017.

More students enrolled in Bibb Schools than projected, an uptick that will impact state funding and could be a sign the yearslong decline in enrollment is starting to level off.

The district’s enrollment is 21,392 – about 200 more students than in October 2021 and 530 more than projected this school year.

“That’s a good thing,” Bibb County Board of Education at-large board member Lisa Garrett said of the increase. “That certainly helps us in all categories, you know, especially funding wise.”

Enrollment at public schools across the country has declined over the past decade and Bibb Schools is no exception. Enrollment at Bibb Schools has declined consistently since October 2017.

At a budget meeting back in May, Bibb Schools CFO Sharon Roberts urged school board members to start looking for ways to cut costs as the yearslong trend of declining enrollment was expected to continue into the 2022-2023 school year. If the district’s enrollment continued to decline as projected then, Roberts said the district would be in “a cash flow crisis” by 2026.

Public school districts report enrollment to the Georgia Department of Education, GaDOE, biannually in March and October. The state allocates money to school districts based on the number of students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

GaDOE has a base minimum enrollment of 450 for elementary schools, 624 for middle schools and 970 for high schools.

At the budget meeting in May, Roberts reported 20 of 34 Bibb Schools had enrollment numbers lower than the state’s base minimum. The state does not fund certain positions, such as media specialists, at schools with fewer than the minimum number of students.

“It’s all about getting the most of the state dollars that we can, and we have so many schools that are underfunded, because of the size and the number of students,” Garrett said. “That just goes with the territory.”

Now, Bibb Schools has only 16 schools with enrollment under the state’s base size.

Superintendent Dan Sims, hired by the district in June, says the improved enrollment numbers could suggest some families have considered other options for their childrens’ educations post-pandemic.

“They are beginning to recognize the benefits of our school district,” Sims said. “The value of educational opportunities that BCSD provides to our families is now more appreciated than it may have been before and during the pandemic.”


L.H. Williams Elementary School continues to have the lowest enrollment in the district with 312 students enrolled compared to 296 in October 2021. Porter and Bernd elementary schools are currently the second and third most under-enrolled elementary schools. In total, 11 of 21 Bibb elementary schools reported enrollment numbers below the state’s minimum of 450. That’s down from 14 elementary schools reportedly under-enrolled in May.


Miller Magnet Middle School is the only middle school to report enrollment lower than the state’s base minimum of 624. The school’s enrollment was 585, an increase from October 2021 when it reported 547 students. Appling Middle School was projected in May to have fewer students than the state’s base minimum but it reported sufficient enrollment of 648 in October.


All but two of the six Bibb County high schools reported enrollment totals fewer than the state’s 970 minimum for high schools. Northeast reported enrollment of 742; Southwest reported enrollment of 800; Central reported enrollment of 844 and Rutland reported 907. Westside High School’s enrollment was 1025 and Howard High School’s was 1076.

To view detailed enrollment for public schools statewide, click here.

To contact Civic Journalism Fellow Laura Corley, call 478-301-5777 or email [email protected].