School districts see enrollment increase

Xavier Smith • Updated Aug 3, 2017 at 9:00 AM

More than 600 students have joined the Lebanon city and Wilson County schools districts to start the year, with numbers expected to grow.

Wilson County Schools director Donna Wright said Tuesday’s numbers showed 515 more students joined the district from the final day of school in May. The district has surpassed 18,000 students with the additions. 

See galleries from the first day of school.

Wilson County school board chairman Larry Tomlinson said Mt. Juliet High School boasts more than 2,200 students, while Lebanon and Wilson Central high schools are approaching 2,000 students each. 

The district added about 750 students on the first day of the 2016-2017 school year, with 440 of those additional students in the district’s high schools.

Lebanon Special School District superintendent Scott Benson said the district had 3,824 students at Tuesday’s end, up 94 students from May. The district has added more than 150 students from the same point last year. 

Benson said the district got off to a “terrific start” Tuesday, while Wright and other Wilson County Schools leaders expressed similar sentiments. The county experienced issues at Wilson Central on opening day when it was believed the school ran out of food during lunch periods. 

Principal Travis Mayfield addressed the rumors Tuesday and said the school did not run out of food just certain items. 

“We had a much greater number of students who ate in the cafeteria [Tuesday] than previous years. I have heard that some students didn’t get to eat and for that I’m sorry. I wouldn’t want my own kid not to eat, and therefore I don’t want that to happen to yours either,” said Mayfield, who said lunch lines in most lunch periods were full due to delays associated with the first day, such as students not knowing their lunch number. 

“Also, the cafeteria manager has prepared for a greater number of students for today and the rest of the month,” he said. 

Wilson County Schools transportation director Jerry Partlow said he was “relatively pleased” with the start of the school year. Partlow said the district has utilized drivers from specialty routes, such as the Nashville School for the Blind and Genesis Learning Centers, since their routes don’t begin until next week.  

Partlow said there were also drivers in training, but the district still has a shortage of drivers. The district has about 130 drivers to cover more than 200 routes, and Partlow said he would like to add 12-15 drivers. 

“We just ask people to be patient with us,” Partlow said. 

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