With falling enrollment, a 'seismic blow' for public schools

But suburban and rural schools have not been spared. In suburban Kansas City, the Olathe, Kansas, school district lost more than 1,000 ...


But suburban and rural schools have not been spared.

In suburban Kansas City, the Olathe, Kansas, school district lost more than 1,000 of its approximately 33,000 students in 2020 as families relocated and switched to private schools or home schooling; only about half of them returned this school year.

In rural Woodbury County, Iowa, south of Sioux City, the inscription at Westwood Community School District fell more than 5% in the past two years, from 552 to 522 students, despite a small influx from cities during the pandemic, Superintendent Jay Lutt said. Today, in addition to demographic trends that have long eroded the size of rural Iowa school populations, diminishing funding, the district is grappling with inflation as the price of fuel for school buses has soared in arrow, Mr. Lutt said.

In some states where schools have avoided distance learning — Florida, for example — enrollment has not only rebounded, but remains robust. Analysis by the American Enterprise Institute, a right-wing think tank, concluded last month that distance education was a major driver nationwide, with enrollment declining the most in districts most likely to have delayed their return to classrooms in person.

Private schools also recorded enrollment gains. Federal enrollment counts have yet to be released, but the National Association of Independent Schools and the National Catholic Educational Association have reported increases totaling about 73,000 K-12 students over the past two years.

At the same time, some families are leaving their local public schools not because they are dropping out of the system altogether, but because they have moved to other parts of the country that are more affordable.

Enrollment also increased in rural resort areasdriven by the relocation of tech workers and others able to work remotely, especially after the pandemic took hold.

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Newsrust - US Top News: With falling enrollment, a 'seismic blow' for public schools
With falling enrollment, a 'seismic blow' for public schools
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