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Student Enrollment Continues to Fall, Economic Woes Continue

September 11th, 2008 by flanews

This year, 37,000 fewer students are attending Florida public schools. This marks the 3rd consecutive year enrollment numbers have fallen. As Whitney Ray tells us, parents are moving their kids out of the state because of Floridas failing economy.

Hear it Here: Student Enrollment Continues to Fall

Florida public school students have fewer classmates than they had a year ago. 37,000 kids left the public school system or moved out of state. A slow down in the construction industry could be partially to blame for the decline. Of all the jobs lost in Florida last year, half were construction related.

Florida School Boards Director Wayne Blanton said those construction workers are leaving Florida to find jobs.

A lot of people are moving to Charlotte, Atlanta, and other places where there are construction jobs. The economy being down is forcing young couples out of Florida, said Blanton.

Elizabeth Shealy has three kids in Florida public schools. She says the costs of milk, gas and school supplies is making it tougher than ever to get by. To make matters worse, shes had a hard time finding a job.

I tried for almost two years looking for one and its just not out there. Theyre not hiring, said Shealy.

Governor Charlie Crist wouldnt acknowledge an exodus of young families to other states. He simply said Florida is getting even grayer.

Enrollments have been going down the past few years, I think its more of a result of the fact that seniors continue to move to Florida. I love them. Theres a lot of gray hair out here and Im one of them, Crist said.

School funding is based on enrollment. With such a drastic drop in students, budgets will be cut and teachers laid off. One positive note, fewer students will make it easier on schools to meet class size requirements.

The enrollment decline is based on a preliminary study looking at student attendance during the first 10 days of the school year. A more thorough study will be released in October. Overall, 53 counties had a drop in enrollment. Walton County saw the biggest drop losing eight percent of its students. St. Johns County school district actually grew by 1,200 students.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Children, Education, State News | No Comments »

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