3,000 Since 2001 and Counting, ISD 709 Losing Students

By KBJR News 1

3,000 Since 2001 and Counting, ISD 709 Losing Students

February 8, 2011 Updated Feb 8, 2011 at 10:40 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The Duluth school district is taking a hard look at those declining student numbers as they face a serious budget deficit.

There are two main conclusions of why fewer students are enrolled in District 709. One factor is that the overall number of school age children in Duluth is declining.

The other factor is parents have more options of where to send their kids to school, such as online education and charter schools.

One of the biggest reasons for keeping kids in the district is because state funding is dependent on the number of students a district educates – the more students, the more money.

The Duluth school district lost almost 3,000 students between 2001 and 2010. That's while the number of school age children also dropped by almost 2,700 kids.

While the district educated 80 percent of the student population in 2001, in 2010 it dropped to 74 percent.

The superintendent says it's a new day where districts will have to work against competition to keep their share of students.

"I do think it's time. I think to compete in the future systematically; we need to do on-going market research," said Keith Dixon.

The district is considering spending $10,000-$15,000 dollars to find out what students and parents want, so the district can better serve their needs and keep them coming to Duluth public schools.

In 2013, district officials expect the student population to go up slightly, and they'll still be fighting to keep those students in the district over alternative options.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike