November 04, 2005
Student enrollment in the Long Beach Unified School District declined this fall to 92,949 students, down 2,534 students from the previous year. Enrollment is now lower than it was five years ago, according to official numbers reported to the state every October.
This year’s enrollment decline follows a decrease of 1,554 students last year. Together, the two consecutive years of significant declines mean the loss of more than $20 million in state Average Daily Attendance funding each year for LBUSD.
The declines in enrollment come after more than two decades of steady increases in enrollment here in California’s third largest school district. Many school districts in California recently have reported significant enrollment declines.
Elementary school enrollment here decreased 1,731 students this year in kindergarten through fifth grade. Middle schools lost 618 students in sixth through eighth grades. High schools lost 59 students.
As a result of lower total enrollment here, the Long Beach Unified School District has alleviated overcrowding in elementary schools, which have been able to offer reduced class sizes in fourth and fifth grades, and all-day kindergarten at many schools.
The largest one-year decreases in Long Beach schools this fall occurred in kindergarten and fourth grades, both of which declined by about 6 percent. By comparison, overall enrollment declined about 2.7 percent from last year’s 95,483 students. Until elementary enrollment bottoms out, districtwide enrollment may continue to decrease. Contributing to the school enrollment change is the fact that young families with children are being priced out of the Southern California housing market. Some are buying more affordable homes elsewhere.