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Tuesday July 22nd 2014

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Escambia County losing high school students from year-to-year

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There is good and bad news in the Escambia County’s public school enrollment statistics. The district’s enrollment increased by 174 students over the 2011-12 Fall enrollment.

Since the fall of 2009, Malcolm Thomas’ first full school year, the district has increased its enrollment by 59 kids –going from 40,610 to 40,669. I guess that qualifies as good news.

The bad news is the district is losing high school students from year-to-year. The drop from freshman to sophomore year is significant.

Last year, the district had 3,485 ninth-graders. This fall, the district reported only 2,775 tenth-graders —20.4 percent drop. The decrease wasn’t as bad for the junior class – only 7.8 percent, 217 fewer students. The 2012-13 senior class have 311 fewer students (11.5 percent) than the 2011-12 junior class.

In total, grades 10, 11 and 12 lost 1,238 students from last year to this year.

The losses are somewhat offset by the 513 more students enrolling the public high schools than were in the 2011-12 eighth grade –which are probably kids who enrolled into private schools for grades 6-8 and are returning to the public school system. Or maybe a lot of kids got held back in the ninth grade.

But let’s dig deeper into the numbers. In the fall of 2009, the district had 3,820 in its ninth-grade class. Now four years later, the district only has 2,391 seniors—a 37.4 percent drop. Some may have moved away, but also some moved in.

However, you look at it. The district has lost more than a third of its students from freshman to senior year under the current administration and school board.

No spin, just the cold, hard statistics.