For the second year in a row, Falls Church City Public Schools has seen a sizeable increase in enrollment.
Dr. Toni Jones, superintendent of the school system, said there are approximately 100 more students this academic year than last year. In March there were 852 students enrolled at George Mason High alone. This year the school has 901 students, the most ever at Mason.
“Enrollment increases have an effect on all aspects of our system,” said Jones. “We need more staff for classrooms, more support staff, more materials, more supplies, additional bus routes and space is at a premium in all four facilities.”
Last year FCCPS schools saw a 4.5 percent increase in student enrollment. Jones said she didn’t know the exact cause of the increase. According to John W. Brett, FCCPS spokesman, all four schools in the system have grown by an average of 4.5 percent for a second consecutive year. Last year, FCCPS officials said the system saw steady increases in student enrollment over the last 10 years. He said Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School is the only school that has seen a flat student population from last year.
Jones said facilities are always a struggle when there’s a quick bump in enrollment. For the time being, Jones said the schools are very full. She said the school system is looking into options going forward.
“Right now, I am working on updating our plan,” said Jones. “The question that I am asked most frequently is 'How much would a new high school cost?' In today’s market, a high school with the square footage size adequate for our division would cost approximately $85 million.”