Numbers of Fayette public school students drop to 2003 level
It has been known for some time that enrollment in Fayette County’s public schools has been slipping since 2007. The Citizen looked at the number of children attending private schools or being home-schooled during the same period to see what those numbers looked like. That look showed, for the most part, a relatively stable trend over time.
Information supplied by the Fayette County School System for school years 2005-2006 through the current school year is categorized by those being home-schooled and those attending one of the numerous private schools in the area.
The information shows that the number of kids home-schooled has remained relatively constant during that time period. Though not dramatic, the number attending private schools has seen more fluctuation.
The following figures by the school year show the number of students home-schooled and the number attending private schools.
Year Home Private
2005-2006 827 904
2006-2007 866 1,157
2007-2008 844 1,334
2008-2009 785 1,039
2009-2010 842 1,291
2010-2011 694 1,287
By way of comparison, the following numbers represent the year-ending school system enrollment over the past decade:
2001 - 19,832
2002 - 20,337
2003 - 21,314
2004 - 21,195
2005 - 21,531
2006 - 22,291
2007 - 22,367
2008 - 22,108
2009 - 22,047
2010 - 21,683
2011 - 21,296 (through March 1)
Conventional wisdom says that the effects of the recession are largely responsible for the decrease, with more people moving out of Fayette than moving in. And while that may be true there are likely a number of factors that are contributing to the decrease in enrollment.
One of those potential factors, and unlike many areas in metro Atlanta, is Fayette’s penchant for very limited residential and commercial growth.
Yet another factor, one that sometimes slips under the political/public radar, is the rapid growth of Fayette County’s aging population, the third fastest growing in the 10-county metro area. That population is expected to increase by 450 percent by 2040. By way of comparison, the Atlanta Regional Commission forecasts that the county’s total population, which would include school-age children, will increase by 59 percent during the same time period.
The ARC and similar population forecasts are customarily not well-received in public meetings and gatherings by some Fayette County elected officials and residents who advocate limited growth or even no-growth models.