Some established Phoenix Schools districts are just a few areas in the Valley that are losing students to charter schools, private schools, and other districts. These Phoenix schools districts have for many years added classrooms and teachers to keep up with their growing populations. Now, they are experiencing decline in enrollments for various reasons.
Since funding is readily available to Phoenix schools that are in a growth cycle, the enrollment decline means loses in badly needed revenues. It also means losses in local, state and federal funding, which also are based upon the student population. This could mean millions in lost funding to the Phoenix schools.
Along with schools in Mesa and Scottsdale, the Phoenix schools are taking aggressive action. Some school districts are aggressively marketing to recruit students from neighboring districts, as well as to reacquire students who have moved to private schools. Street banners announce the start of schools in some districts, beefing up the Phoenix schools image in others.
The Phoenix schools are battling to keep their current student enrollment levels, while searching for methods to recruit more students. The Phoenix schools face increasing competition from charter schools, as well as private schools that offer more exclusivity to the Phoenix schools’ students.
Enrollment throughout the Valley, overall, continues to increase; thus, supporting the findings of an enrollment study for Paradise Valley school district by Applied Economics. They found that charter and private schools were luring students from the district at increasing rates.
The Phoenix schools districts know that new residential housing developments are planned within their districts. The problem is how to plan for such increase in student population — Will they attend the traditional Phoenix schools or opt for a charter or private school. By the time the Phoenix schools have an answer to this quandary, it will be too late to build the needed facilities. Overcrowding in the Phoenix schools already will have been felt.
The Phoenix schools are hurt further by the state law on school funding. When the Phoenix schools experience a decline in student enrollment, they lose funding. Additionally, according to this law, there is a mandated drop in how much additional funding the Phoenix schools can obtain, even through local funding sources.
Lastly, additional funding for construction and renovation of facilities that is available during a growth cycle of the Phoenix schools is nonexistent during an enrollment decline. This makes the average $8,000 per student with extra for students with various types of situations and disabilities, less than adequate for schools that already are dealing with budget and funding concerns.