Cape area school enrollment dropped by 1.42% in the 2012-2103 school year according to information obtained from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). This represents a loss of 412 children from the local public school rolls.
There are now 28,618 students enrolled in Cape area public schools compared to 36,135 back in 2001.
Truro lost 8.97% of its students from FY2012 to FY2013. Brewster dropped 5.44%, Sandwich 5.22%, and Wareham 5.81%.
Some school districts grew. Provincetown had an increase of 10.31% (ten students), Orleans 3.85% (8 students) and Wellfleet, Nauset and Upper Cape Regional Vocational all saw increases in the mid 1% range.
Sturgis Charter Public School in Hyannis grew its enrollment by 17.30% due to the expansion of the new Sturgis West campus, an increase of 109 students.
Chatham and Harwich combined to form the Monomoy Regional School District this year. The combined district enrolls 1,880 students. Last year the two towns enrolled 1,949 - which means that 3.5% of their students did not show up for the “wedding”.
Dennis-Yarmouth Regional seems at long last to be holding its own, with a net loss of only 2 students according to the DESE database.
1,039 students lost in just two years
Dropping 412 children this year and 627 in FY2012 represents a 1,039 drop in local school enrollment in just the last two years. This is the equivalent of wiping a school the size of Nauset Regional High School off the map.
In our October 26, 2011 story about declining enrollments we wrote about school districts trying to feed at a trough that holds 20.8% less “food” to feed the same number of horses. To continue that metaphor, all area school districts (except Sturgis) are feeling hunger. Provincetown starved to death and Chatham/Harwich “combined households” to make the best of a bad situation.
All Cape area school districts are now feeling the pressure of declining enrollment, school choice and charter choice. Should this decline continue, we will likely see more “weddings” and a few “funerals” as our school districts continue to consolidate.