West Virginia’s public schools lost another roughly 4,120 students from last school year to this one, dropping statewide enrollment to 261,630, according to numbers released Thursday by the state Department of Education.
It’s a 1.6 percent drop statewide.
The vast majority of counties lost students, and the statewide impact will likely be millions fewer dollars for public schools — the state school aid funding formula is largely based on enrollment.
Thirty-six of the state’s 55 counties now have fewer public schoolers overall than the state lost from last school year to this one.
State schools Superintendent Steve Paine briefly mentioned the statewide drop number at Thursday’s state Board of Education meeting. He raised concern about homeschooling being abused by those wanting to escape public school accountability for attendance and behavior.
The drop last school year from the school year before that was 4,860.
Regarding the drop this school year, Kanawha County, the state’s largest county in enrollment, lost 310 students to hit 25,370.
“Like in years past, we will continue to look for areas where we can make responsible cuts that don’t impact student learning and their experience,” said Briana Warner, the Kanawha schools communications director.
Berkeley County, the second-largest, gained 180 students to reach 19,650.
Cabell County, another relatively high-enrollment county, lost about as many students as Kanawha. Cabell is now down to about 12,100.
Putnam County lost fewer than 100 students, to hit about 9,450.
You can look up your county and school by visiting zoomwv.k12.wv.us
Each West Virginia county has its own public school system. The counties with fewer public schoolers overall than the 4,120 the state lost from last school year to this one are:
Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Calhoun (only 930 kids now), Clay, Doddridge, Gilmer (only 810), Grant, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, McDowell, Mineral, Mingo, Monroe, Morgan, Nicholas, Pendleton (only 860), Pleasants, Pocahontas (only 980), Randolph, Ritchie, Roane, Summers, Taylor, Tucker (only 970), Tyler, Upshur, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt (only 1,000) and Wyoming.
An education department document showed 381,230 public schoolers in West Virginia in 1979-80. The document didn’t have statistics for earlier than that.