Headland Continues to Grow and Student Enrollment Increases

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As the city of Headland's population is expected to double by 2010, it is causing the schools to also grow rapidly.

That has created a problem for school leaders who say they don’t know where the money will come from to accommodate the growth.

School leaders say in the last four years they have seen elementary school enrollment increase by 140-students.

While expansion plans are underway for the elementary school, they only meet the current needs of 800-students.

Henry County Schools Superintendent Dennis Coe says, “The growth will work up through the grades and we've got to accommodate additional growth there as well.”

The biggest dilemma for the school system is funding.

School leaders say that due to the low property tax, revenue from residential properties is not enough to cover the $6-to-$7 million dollars needed to accommodate necessary expansion at all three of the schools.

And, there are not enough businesses to generate tax revenue to make up the difference.

“I think we are going to have to depend on the residents as a source of industry because more houses that are built and more residents that move in, that's going to generate tax for the city of Headland and also the county,” said Mayor Reuben Shelley of Headland.

The city is trying to attract more businesses into the area.

“Our next big venture will be a motel. It's looking upwards; hopefully within the next nine months or 12 months,” said Shelley.

Mayor Shelley says part of the problem is the majority of Headland’s residents work in other cities like Dothan and tend to shop near where they work.

In the meantime, the increase in students may require school officials to come up with creative options to ease the problem.

School officials say they may end up shifting some grade levels around or adding a few more grade levels to the middle school.

Either way, they don't yet have a set plan for the future.

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