New data from the Michigan Department of Education show the trend has continued into the 2016-2017 school year.
Bill DiSessa is a Spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Education. He said declining enrollment has a direct impact on school funding.
“When a student leaves the district, it as you know, it brings those state per people funding state aid dollars with them. It adds up quickly. A district that loses 300, 400, 500 students it adds up.”
A likely culprit for the declining enrollment in Michigan’s schools is an aging population: according to U.S. Census data, the number of people 18 or below in the state of Michigan fell roughly one point five percent while the overall population remained stable.
DiSessa said enrollment declines highlight a need to change the school funding structure in Michigan.
“The whole deficit district situation is to some extent an offshoot of the declining enrollment situation here. Obviously I know that there is a consensus among education leaders and state leaders here in government that we have to take a further deeper dive look at education funding in the state.”
DiSessa said while the declines have been gradual – statewide the state has lost between eight and ten thousand students a year – they add up quickly in local districts.