Empty desks worry school division officials.
From the first day of school to Sept. 30, when the state collects enrollment counts, administrators pore over daily attendance records, comparing them to estimates used six months before to build budgets. They call it "the warm body count," said Steve Staples, a College of William and Mary education professor and former York County schools superintendent.
Schools' missions, budgets and staffs depend on those counts being close. "Enrollment drives everything," said Newport News Assistant Superintendent Mary Lou Roaseau. "It drives our revenues. It drives our expenses."