Pinning down the enrollment for the start of the 2012-13 school year for the White Hall School District is similar to shooting at a moving target, Superintendent Dr. Larry Smith said Monday afternoon.

Pinning down the enrollment for the start of the 2012-13 school year for the White Hall School District is similar to shooting at a moving target, Superintendent Dr. Larry Smith said Monday afternoon.

On Friday the enrollment stood at 3,011, compared to 2,955 for the fifth day of the last school year. The numbers reflect a net gain in enrollment, but may not be accurate, Smith cautioned.

“The first 10 days in a school year is an absolute crap shoot,” he said while going over Monday’s preliminary numbers coming in from each school in the district.

The numbers ranged from 3,011 to 3,013 in a 30-minute period.”

“By the end of the day those numbers won’t be good,” Smith said. “They change day by day and sometimes hour by hour

At White Hall High School, there were 957 on the rolls Monday, but 894 showed up for classes. Some absences are to be expected, Smith said, but some may have no intention of attending WHHS this year.

That 957 roster came from the number of sophomores and juniors enrolled last year, plus this year’s freshmen and sophomores and some new students who registered.

Some of last year’s sophomores and juniors may have moved to another district during the summer, Smith explained, and if they moved out of state to a district that begins the school year after Labor Day, no transfer request has been received at WHHS.

After 10 days, the district is required to “drop” students, according to Arkansas Department of Education. However, the district is required to track the “missing students,” Smith explained.

That may involve students enrolled under the School Choice law who elected not to move from their home district to the son or daughter of military personnel transferred during the summer.

Some signs are obvious, Smith added. He said he has noticed fewer individuals in the football stands military uniforms since the reduction in force began at the Pine Bluff Arsenal.

Civilian employees and contract workers at the arsenal have also left the area, which represent enrollment changes, Smith said.

A school district can be penalized for its dropout rate, so beginning Tuesday, school officials will begin tracking those “phantom students” on the roster in earnest, Smith said. Once located, the students can be removed from the enrollment with an explanation.