Audio: School districts scrambling to stop student enrollment drops
A new report from the Governor’s Department of Finance predicts significant increases and drops in student enrollment in Southern California counties in the coming years.
In the next five years, student enrollment will go down in Los Angeles County by 61,000 students and by 21,000 students in Orange County. The report says it’s because of lower birth rates and families moving out of those areas.
“This is a big deal for districts,” said University of Southern California School of Education Professor Julie Marsh.
Losing students means losing the per-student state funds that disappear with the students, she said, and that financial pressure is compounded by rising employee pensions and rising costs for some programs such as special education.
School districts are taking several approaches to the enrollment drop. Many are cutting costs and some staff. Some school officials are asking themselves how they can keep students from leaving.
“How do you attract back students from other districts, from privates, from charters? That could lead to a whole bunch of things,” like offering programs that are attractive to some parents, such as dual language immersion programs and arts instruction, Marsh said.
El Segundo Unified doesn’t have a large enrollment decline, but it is adopting an approach that others with declining enrollment are taking: be nimble.
“As we see trends in our enrollment or patterns, what we try to do is respond Audio: School districts scrambling to stop student enrollment drops | 89.3 KPCC: