Fewer students enroll in CMS than expected

As Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools closes in on Monday's official enrollment count, growth is not quite half what officials projected during the spring budget talks, according to a report sent to board members Friday.

The district, which had 132,281 students last year, expected to have 135,854 this year. As of Wednesday, it had 134,046 – an increase of 1,765 over the previous year, but just over 1,800 short of the projection.

Urban and suburban districts around North Carolina, including Wake County, are seeing similar patterns: After years of explosive growth, the boom is tapering off faster than expected. Officials say they believe the national economic slump is the main reason.

CMS, like other districts, also came up short last year, projecting 5,200 more students but getting about 3,300.

The official tally taken on the 20th day of school helps determine how many teachers the state will pay for and where they'll be assigned. Schools that come up short are likely to lose staff, while any that come out ahead – those in the south suburbs look most likely to top their targets – could add teachers.