KEYSER, W.Va. — Enrollment in Mineral County Schools is 4,040, down 64 students from last year, according to a report to the Board of Education by Superintendent Troy Ravenscroft.
“This is part of a trend we have been expecting,” he said, adding the decline was somewhat expected due to the summer closure of Verso’s Luke paper mill.
Ravenscroft provided board members with a graph indicating that since 2012, when enrollment was 4,280, the county has lost 40 students.
“We expected a loss with the mill closing, but what was a surprise this year is the fact the losses occurred primarily in the Frankfort area schools,” he said.
The lost enrollment affects the amount of financial assistance the county receives as part of the state’s Aid to Education program.
Between 2012 and 2014, there were 93 students lost. From 2014 to 2017, enrollment stabilized somewhat with 4,187 in 2014, and increased by five students in 2015 to 4,192.
However, the enrollment began decreasing again to 4,105 in 2018. Last year enrollment dropped by one student to 4,104.
The amount of funding the county will lose is not yet available, Ravenscroft said.
In other business, Ravenscroft reported to the board that the Bullying Task Force, created last year, has been reconstituted to address issues in the schools.
“Communication is important in the success of the task force,” he said.
He also told the board that there are concerns related to the access road to Keyser High School.
“We received a letter from a local attorney saying there are concerns for safety of buses and others because there are no guard rails near the drop off area,” he said.
The letter further stated that there is a 15-foot drop if a vehicle were to go over the edge of the road.
Ravenscroft said he was surprised by the letter, which was also provided to local press. He said he is in touch with the Division of Highways in order to determine the responsibility for maintaining the access road, noting he would likely have a report for board members later.