New Mexico’s oil region schools see more enrollment spikes

December 23, 2019 GMT

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — A school district in the heart of New Mexico’s booming oil and gas area continues to grow and see record enrollment.

The Hobbs Municipal Schools recorded enrollment at 10,586 students on the 80th day this year, the Hobbs News-Sun reports.

“By comparing today (Dec. 17) with this time last year in the district, we have 371 more students in our chairs,” Cantu said. “There is definitely lots of kids. Still a lot of mobility.”

The district began the school year above 10,000 students for only the second time in its history.

Superintendent T.J. Parks announced that because the district is now above 10,000 students, it moves into a higher honor statewide.

But Parks’ concern is not at the high school, nor elementary level. As of Wednesday’s enrollment, there were 2,539 students in the three middle-school classes of sixth-eighth grade.

“Our real pinch points are at the middle school level,” Parks said. “I think in the second semester we are going to start having some conversations about how we are going to alleviate some of that pressure off of the middle schools. They are way over capacity.”

In a 2017 facility assessment, Houston Middle School was listed at having an enrollment capacity of 719 students. Current enrollment stands at 918. Highland Middle School’s capacity was listed at 734 students. It’s current enrollment is 953.

“The growth is all over,” Parks said. “What we have noticed is even though you see these different housing developments taking place throughout Hobbs, a lot of parents are not having their kids change schools. They may move to that development but they are leaving their kids at the same school. We also have several parents who request to have their kids go to school close to where they work, rather than where they live.”

The enrollment jump comes as southeastern New Mexico has seen a spike in oil production and oil prices, creating high-paying jobs and helping state revenues.