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School Age Families Fleeing State

May 18th, 2007 by Mike Vasilinda

For the first time in the state’s history, the actual number of children in public schools this past year will be down from the year before.  New data released today at the Tax and Budget Reform Commission shows fewer families with children are moving to Florida and as Mike Vasilinda reports, more families with kids are leaving the state.

 Hear it here: Family Unfriendly

Fewer families with school aged children are coming to Florida. Those with kids are leaving in droves, and young adults are either delaying starting a family or they are also leaving.  The high cost of housing is getting the most blame. High property taxes and insurance rank right up there as well. Researcher Amy Baker told a state budget committee that they don’t yet know how permanent the trend will be.

“We don’t have proof yet as to why we… we’re looking at several economic factors.” says Baker.

Forecasters thought 48 thousand new children would enroll in Florida schools last September. Just 477 new kids did. With all the kids that have left since fall, this is expected to be the first year there are fewer kids in school now than there were a year ago.

Alan Levine runs a south Florida hospital. He says keeping staff who have families is difficult. “The problem they’re having is the cost of living, property taxes, insurance, the value of their home. In many cases, the reason a lot of ‘em aren’t leaving is the cost of their house.”

Forecasters still expect Florida to grow, but at only half the rate of the last few decades. They say in 2010, Florida will surpass New York to become the third largest state.

Florida lawmakers passed an insurance reform bill in January and they meet in special
session next month to deal with the high cost of property taxes… but there’s not much they can do about the high cost of housing.

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