Tuesday, August 01, 2006

California Public School Enrollment Drops for the First Time in 24 Years

From the L.A. Times:

Over the last seven years, nearly 400 students have left the public school rosters in Santa Barbara. Enrollment in this wealthy, Spanish-tiled coastal haven has dropped as steadily as home prices have risen. It is a trend expected to continue as the median home price pushes past $1 million.It is also a trend that increasingly appears to be occurring across California.

Public schools circling downtown Los Angeles are losing students as their neighborhoods gentrify. A similar shift is underway in the Bay Area, Sacramento and Los Angeles, and Orange and Ventura counties. Statewide, public school enrollment was down slightly this year, for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century. And though officials aren't quite sure of all the reasons behind the drop, they are sure that the cost of housing is one of them...

In the 2005-06 school year, statewide school enrollment dropped for the first time in 24 years. There were 6,313,103 pupils enrolled, a decline of about 10,000 from the previous year, according to state Department of Education records.

State officials aren't sure whether the trend will continue. Projections had called for continued student growth through at least 2010, said Donna Rothenbaum, a spokeswoman in the education department's demographics unit. She said several factors could contribute, including local job losses, changes in migration patterns and lower fertility rates. But a major trigger, analysts say, is the state's sky-high housing market. Student losses appear to be highest in high-cost coastal regions, especially around Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Housing prices in those regions are among the highest in the state, analysts note...

In Sacramento, San Juan Unified School District is closing schools because of decreased enrollment, Rothenbaum said..."It wasn't that long ago that we couldn't build schools fast enough," said Hans Johnson, a demographer at the San Francisco-based Public Policy Institute of California. "Now we've switched to which schools to close."
Even in Elk Grove, the so-called fastest growing city in America, enrollment has suddenly cooled since the Sacramento housing market peaked in August 2005.


Rob Dawg said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rob Dawg said...

[repost with confusing typo corrected]

"Changes in migration patterns..."

Government codespeak for a decline in illegal immigration. Central Valley agribusinees is complaining that crops are going unharvested because of a lack of cheap labor. Now schools are saving billions as building projects are defered and overcrowding eases.

No connection here. nope, none.