THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA: Schools To Have Fewer Students Next Year, Economists Say

Jun 23, 2009

Florida schools will lose 10,000 students next year, the third straight year of declining enrollment in what remains the nation’s fourth largest school system.

The Legislature’s Economic, Demographic and Research Office posted results Monday from its June 11 conference that concluded just over 2.6 million students will enter Florida classrooms next fall. The total roughly matches what forecasters predicted in April, when lawmakers were preparing the state’s $66 billion state budget.

After 25 years of soaring enrollment, Florida schools began losing students in 2006, when enrollment declined by more than 7,000 students. Another 13,279 left in 2008-09, according to EDR.

Looking ahead, forecasters say 2,677 students will leave the rolls in 2010-11.
The economy has plenty to do with the downward trend. Migration from other states has cooled as Florida’s unemployment climbed to 10.2 percent in May. A glut of unsold homes slows the construction industry and the state hovers near the top nationwide in home foreclosures.

Because of the flagging economy, EDR has said it is likely student counts will remain below 2005 levels until 2013.