Home and private schools not cause of Fayette schools’ enrollment drop

Student enrollment in Fayette County public schools has been falling for several years. And though there are likely a number of reasons for the decrease, the flight to private schools or home schooling is not among them.

The Fayette County School System during the past six years has seen a relatively consistent average of 1,287 students per year attending private schools and another 809 being home-schooled. These figures come from the school system itself.

On a year by year basis, fewer Fayette students are being home-schooled and attending private schools this year than three years ago.

The student enrollment in Fayette’s public schools over the past decade grew from 19,240 in 2000-2001 to 22,367 in 2006-2007. The numbers have decreased since that time, with recent school system figures for the 2010—2011 year totaling 20,913 students.

With virtually no new residential growth and the recession still in evidence, the short-term forecast includes further incremental drops in enrollment during the next two years.

Enrollment information provided by the school system shows an average of 1,287 students attending private school between 2005-2006 and 2010-2011 and an average of 809 students being home-schooled during the same period.

A tabulation by year showed 904 students in private schools in 2005-2006, 1,157 in 2006-2007, 1,334 in 2007-2008, 1,039 in 2008-2009, 1,291 in 2009-2010 and 1,287 in 2010-2011.

The numbers for students home-schooled was also relatively consistent, with 827 on 2005-2006, 866 in 2006-2007, 844 in 2007—2008, 785 in 2008-2009, 842 in 2009-2010 and 694 in 2010-2011.

The school system information also noted the various private elementary, middle and high schools being attended. At the top of the list for the current school year is Landmark Christian in Fairburn and Peachtree City with 269 Fayette County students, followed by Trinity Christian in Sharpsburg with 136, Woodward Academy in College Park with 118 and St. Paul Lutheran in Peachtree City with 115.

In all, 1,287 Fayette students attended a total of 40 private schools this year.

Chris P. Bacon
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"Relatively Consistent"? Home Skooling PLUMMETS in Fayette
Ben Nelms wrote:

The numbers for students home-schooled was also relatively consistent, with 827 on 2005-2006, 866 in 2006-2007, 844 in 2007—2008, 785 in 2008-2009, 842 in 2009-2010 and 694 in 2010-2011.

An 18% drop in the number of home skoolers in one year is "relatively consistent"?

A 16.5% drop over the 5-year moving average is "relatively consistent"?

No, that is a rather significant drop.

This does not bode well for the future of the Fayette Tea Party.

Graced1
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Demographics are tools but

Demographics are tools but not the gospel.

I am 49, Caucasian, with six children. Currently, I have 2 young adults, 1 high school senior, 1 middle school 7th grader, and 2 elementary kids in 2nd and 4th. So, I do not fit the white with few kids or median-age with older kids demographic.

If Fayette has a declining student population due to "moving up" families with less kids, what county has the opposite climbing population of younger students? The demographics must be looked at in comparison to the state's population trends. It could be the school population is declining statewide.

If Fayette is maxing out because young families cannot locate here, perhaps we need more lower middle income housing options. My young adult children are having a difficult time living in Fayette county due to the high cost of housing. My grandchildren may never be able to attend Fayette county schools.

Robert W. Morgan
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I believe that was first noted in 1959

and probably every year since - that we needed more lower middle income housing options. Haven't had much luck with that, but we can keep trying.

Let's see, you have 4 kids living with you and adult children who may visit from time to time. 5 bedroom house might work if you double up when the older kids come and stay over. Large eat-in kitchen, I assume. Probably a basement so the kids can have a retreat. Maybe a bonus room. 3-car garage a must. I think that can all get done for about $300,000. That meet your definition of affordable?

BTW, 4 kids in school cost the taxpayers $28,000 each and every year about 10 times what that $300,000 house pays in taxes. How are we supposed to make that work?

Graced1
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Wrong Assumption

[quote=Robert W. Morgan]Let's see, you have 4 kids living with you and adult children who may visit from time to time. 5 bedroom house might work if you double up when the older kids come and stay over. Large eat-in kitchen, I assume. Probably a basement so the kids can have a retreat. Maybe a bonus room. 3-car garage a must. I think that can all get done for about $300,000. That meet your definition of affordable?

quote]

Wrong assumption - 3 bedroom house with a bonus room, no basement, 14 X 10 kitchen with a table that seats 8. Before the young adults moved out, we had 3 children to a bedroom. Their retreat is the great outdoors. Backyards are a wonderful place that allow for exercise. When the adult children visit and stay over, the sofa or a pallet is quite sufficient. Current value around 165K thanks to the housing crash.

Fortunately, I can work from home. All in all it is a great life. I love being able to be involved in my kids school. Afternoons find me helping with homework or volunteering in sports/church activities.

However, young families with young children cannot afford Fayette county homes unless they have 2 incomes. The result - more elementary kids in the school with fewer parent volunteers. Volunteers = decreased expenses ($) in school system because volunteers "staff" libraries, tutor, help teachers, etc.

Cyclist
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Robert W. it's simple....

Have multiple families living in the same house. That's quite the thing in places like Chulajuana, California.

halfdollarandlost
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28,000 each?

How do you figure that?

Robert W. Morgan
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Sorry, grammar alert

It is $28,000 total - meaning $7,000 x 4.
$28,000, each and every year? The comma could have helped.

Spyglass
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Prayers sent..

Good luck. Hopefully, you have figured out the problem. :)

poipendicular
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Please clarify

What does race have to do with declining elementary student rates? Do white people have more kids than black or hispanic? Isn't it the opposite? Most hispanics happen to be catholic and their religion doesn't condone birth control. Hey I noticed while driving on the paths more asian families. Isn't that a good thing? Higher test results, and they have a perceived reputation of being quiet and orderly.

Chris P. Bacon
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Sorry about that poipendicular
poipendicular wrote:

What does race have to do with declining elementary student rates? Do white people have more kids than black or hispanic? Isn't it the opposite? Most hispanics happen to be catholic and their religion doesn't condone birth control. Hey I noticed while driving on the paths more asian families. Isn't that a good thing? Higher test results, and they have a perceived reputation of being quiet and orderly.

My little cut and paste was from a larger discussion about Fayette county demographics. To my knowledge, race is a non-factor in school enrollment (though I would not be surprised one bit if some of these home-schooling parents disapprove of mixed race classes "on principle"!!)

The changing racial demographic paragraph was just me strikin' terror into the hearts of the local Teahadists, who have a documented antipathy towards anything non-white.

My apologies for the confusion.

poipendicular
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Thank you for clarifying that section of your quote.

I can agree with a lot of the quote in regards to the avg age of women in the city and the perceived opinion of builders in regards to middle school aged children. While not all kids in that age bracket are troublesome and destructive, it all falls under proper parental guidance. That is the problem with kids across the country. The parents are busy and involved in other things, work, financial stress, or any other number of things. The kids are given minimum attention and not enough communication between parents and kids. So the kids get into trouble. No matter how good the kid seems, always assume that they will try to get into trouble. Again I'm not saying all kids are bad, just pay attention and don't assume the best.

As for the Tea Party, they scare me.

Chris P. Bacon
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Declining school enrollments

I've been beating this dead horse for two years.

From October 2010:

Chris P. Bacon wrote:

The future of Fayette county school enrollment continues to look dire.

Last year around this time, I told you about how the median age in Fayette county was much higher than the state of Georgia. Since then, it has only gotten worse.

Last year, the median age in Georgia was 33, and the median age in PTC was 39.9. The latest numbers area out, Georgia is still 33, but PTC's median age is now 40.9!

Other median ages: Tyrone-39, Brooks-41, Woolsey-42 and Fayetteville-36.

These high median ages spell disaster for Fayette elementary schools. Subtract six years (average age of Kindergartner) from the median age above and ask yourself how many mothers do you know are giving birth at that age: For example, PTC mothers giving birth at 34.9 years? Simple answer: very few. This is proving once and for all that Fayette is at best a "move up" community...people move here with children generally older than elementary school age.

Unfortunately, rather than expand middle school and high school capacity in existing populated areas, the FCBOE (primarily the Gang of Three) gambled spectacularly with the public's money and built unneeded ELEMENTARY school capacity. Why? Because builders can charge a superpremium for houses within walking distance to elementary schools! (Ask any realtor). Conversely, builders seek to avoid building near middle and high schools because kids cause "trouble" at that age. That's a major reason why Bennett's Mill Middle School was built in the middle of nowhere.

Speaking of demographics, what really will strike fear into the hearts of the Teahadists might be the shifting racial demographic in Fayette County. In 2000, Fayette was 89% white. In 2006, the percentage of white folks had dwindled to 81%. The results of the 2010 census should arrive very soon, too. "The Negroes Is Comin'! The Negroes Is Comin'!"

A quick update: the median age in Fayette county appeared to hit an all-time high in 2010 at 40.9, it has dropped to 39.1 in 2011, but is still over 6 years higher than the state average. This is still a growing disaster for elementary school student population: the number of women giving birth at 33 (39 years of age less 6 years to get to kindergarten = 33 ) is much much smaller than the state average of 27 years (33 - 6 = 27).

Since Peachtree City is built-out, and there is no new major residential development anywhere in Fayette, we're in a "generational death spiral" as far as schools go, we will have tremendous excess elementary school capacity until the current PTC residents move into retirement homes and a new generation moves in (usually takes 20 years, less 4 years of dwindling enrollment, so were looking at a rebound in 2027....). The exact same thing happened in Dekalb county in the late 1970s, btw.

P.S. did I call the minority percentage correctly or what? Predicted 81% white, actual census was 80% white! The board of elections will have its work cut out for them keeping blacks and hispanics from winning public elections here!!