Trends in the News

School Enrollment and Student Population

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WHIO-TV, 4/15/17

Panel: Indianapolis should close 3 of 7 public high schools

Most of the district lies in Center Township, where the population has fallen by 194,424 since 1950 while the population of the surrounding townships more than tripled. The report also cites enrollment growth at charter schools and at private schools, which have benefited from Indiana’s voucher program. One of the nation’s largest, the program enables parents to use public funds to send their children to non-public schools.

Tulsa World, 4/4/17

44 more districts mull shorter school year amid cuts, state survey shows

Oklahoma: A revenue failure was declared for the current fiscal year, requiring cuts to state-appropriated agencies, including the Oklahoma State Department of Education. The school board and administrators associations estimate that because of student enrollment increases amid all reductions for the current year, schools have about $160 less to spend per student than they did in 2015-16.

Urban Institute, 3/23/17

Subtracting schools from communities

Urban researchers who study intersections between education and community development find that planning efforts are seldom aligned—but perhaps they should be. After all, a stable population base is critical for school enrollment, and good schools build a stronger community. But political buy-in for community transformation as a means of school transformation can be difficult.

News Works, 3/9/17

Students leaving Philly schools for charters less costly than once thought

When charter schools expand, and more kids leave classrooms run by the School District of Philadelphia, it’s not as costly as previously estimated, although the total remains significant. That’s according to a much-anticipated report commissioned by the district in 2015, completed by the consultancy Afton Partners. Uri Monson, Chief Financial Officer for The School District of Philadelphia says in the district’s press release, “Some of the constraints that lead to stranded costs are partially controllable and can be mitigated with action by SDP, albeit via difficult actions such as layoffs and school closures.  Continuing to grow and improve District-managed schools, and attracting students back to great schools near where they live, would also mitigate these fiscal challenges for the District.”

Chicago Sun-Times, 2/20/17

Hispanic CPS schools’ budgets cut twice the rate of white ones

Schools with at least 51 percent Hispanic students saw 1.8 percent of their total budgets frozen, on average — that’s about twice the average rate of 0.9 percent frozen at schools with at least 51 percent of white students, according to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis of the freezes. The schools that lost the highest percentage of their remaining spending power — 1.8 percent on average — also serve the very poorest children, where nine out of 10 students qualify for the free or reduced-price lunch that is shorthand for school poverty.

Education Week, 4/27/16

What’s really happening with special education enrollment

What I found most noteworthy is how little we know, on a national basis, about how much is spent on special education and what connection any of that spending has to student outcomes. There were a series of reports that came out in the early 2000s on special education funding, and they can be found at the website of the Center for Special Education Finance/Special Education Expenditure Project. But all those reports were based on figures collected during the 1999-2000 school year. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know how the state of special education funding has changed since then?