- Associated Press - Sunday, April 13, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Many Ohio school districts are seeing declining enrollment as the state’s younger population goes down.

The Columbus Dispatch reports (https://bit.ly/1hxgFoK ) that state figures show most districts’ enrollments are down over the last few years.

The Dublin, Ohio-based company FutureThink forecasts that trend to continue over the next couple years. A report by the digital-mapping company, Esri, projects a 2 percent drop by 2018, or about 56,000 fewer children.

“We’re seeking a shrinking of a young population,” said Tracy Healy, president of FutureThink.

Nationally, affluent suburban districts are usually the ones seeing growth, while urban and rural schools decline.

There are exceptions, such as Columbus schools. The state capital’s schools have shown a 2.8 percent uptick in enrollment for the current school year. But it is still down over the last five years and the current enrollment of 50,870 is 18 percent below enrollment a decade ago, The Dispatch reported.

Licking County suburban district Licking Heights has seen a growth rate of 15 percent, adding 470 students over the last five years. It could soon reach 4,000 students, and school officials are working with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to replace the high school.

Superintendent Philip Wagner said the district stopped open enrollment in 2011-12 as a result.

“We expect the growth to continue,” he said.

While other districts also saw enrollment increase with the help of open enrollment, The Dispatch reported that 13 districts that allowed students from outside their borders in central Ohio still saw declines over the last five years.


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