Public school enrollments continue to drop

Austen Thibault, The Union Democrat

School enrollment continues to decline in the Mother Lode, meaning less funding and signaling that young families are moving out of the area, according to school and county officials.

Tuolumne County's enrollment dropped from 6,245 in the 2012-2013 year to 5,888 in the 2013-2014 year.

Calaveras County's enrollment dropped from 5,959 to 5,809, according to the numbers given to the California Department of Education.

"We're losing our young families to a lack of jobs. They're moving to other areas," said Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Joe Silva.

He said this idea is echoed by the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors and other local government.

School enrollment has trended downward for the last 15 years in the two counties, dropping from the upper 8,000s in the mid-1990s.

Enrollment matters because schools are funded by the state for the amount of students showing up.

Lowering enrollment combined with state budget cuts has led to school closures and a reduction of teachers in the area.

For the full story see today's Union Democrat.

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