The Escambia County School District lost 1,007 10-, 11- and 12-graders since the 2017-18 school year, according to the Florida Department of Education.
Last year, the district had 2,757 eighth grade students, and the enrollment records show that this year the district had 3,195 ninth graders–438 increase.
However, the district lost students as they progressed in high school. Only 2,926 of the 2017-18 freshman class of 3,280 students are sophomores this year (354 loss); 2,646 of the 2017-18 sophomore class of 2,943 students are now juniors (297 loss); and only 2,365 of the 2017-18 junior class of 3,280 students are seniors (356 loss).
In the past, the school district has explained losses by saying they were due to Pensacola being a military town. However, our neighboring Florida counties aren’t seeing the same huge losses.
Nearby Santa Rosa County, which has Whiting Field and families associated with Hurlburt AFB, doesn’t have these large swings in enrollment from year to year.
Okaloosa County, where the Air Force has two large bases, showed losses year to year in the sophomore, junior and senior classes – but only lost 89 students in its senior class.
The Escambia County losses for 10-12 grades (1,007 loss) is more than those for middle school (6-8: 195 loss) and elementary school (1-5: 235 loss).
We need the Escambia County School Board to order an independent analysis into why its high schools are losing so many students.