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Broward County schools see downward trend in enrollment

Broward public schools enrollment is down this year
Broward public schools enrollment is down this year 01:44

FORT LAUDERDALE — While Miami-Dade County Public Schools saw enrollment jump by 2,000 students this year, it's a different picture in Broward, where there's been a downward trend.

"We went down by approximately 3,200 students," said Dr. Peter Licata, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent.

Superintendent Licata talked to CBS News Miami about the latest enrollment numbers.

"We're seeing a trend, especially in Broward County, where families are moving out to less expensive areas in the state. Broward County has no more room for growth; they're not constructing new developments; they're building high-rises."

This latest headcount came in on September 10.

"And then, we make our decisions and processes based on that number."

For BCPS, that declining trend began in the 2017-2018 school year, according to data. During the pandemic year, the numbers dipped by over 7,000, but the loss last year was about only 1,600, it grew again this year.

"We did budget for a loss, so no one is being laid off. We have an adequate number of teachers, and we only have a few openings left."

The district data shows the highest loss of students came from grades K-5 and middle school, where some switched to homeschooling or other alternatives, but did the new voucher program take students away?

"The voucher program didn't have as big an impact on school districts in terms of the number of students; many of those students were already enrolled elsewhere."

However, he explained, it could affect the state's general education budget that goes to the district. Therefore, the need to recruit students begins now.

"I'll open up all choice programs and academic programs for students to attend, even if they may not be in their neighborhood and require some travel," Licata concluded.

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