Declining Enrollment Creates School Funding Pressures

As reported by the Star Democrat, the Kent County Commissioners voted to give the board of education $1.6 million to make up shortfalls in the school budget for the coming year.

The budget shortfalls were in part the result of declining enrollment. Both state and local school funding is based on the number of students in a school system.

When the number of students declines, schools can experience a sudden drop in funding. At the same time, even with fewer students, they often strive to offer equivalent courses and programs. This dynamic can strain local budgets.

The Star Democrat quotes Kent County Superintendent Karen Couch, stating,

Over the last 10 years. . . the county’s school population has declined by 868 students. With state and county funding currently providing about $14,000 per student to the school system, the district receives some $12 million less in the current school year than it would have if population remained stable. As it is, county schools face a shortfall of $766,000 in revenue support for the fiscal year beginning July 1, she said.

For more information, see the full story, County funding to save schoolsfrom the Star Democrat.