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Where Have All the Children Gone?

Where Have All the Children Gone?

And, will they come back?  These questions weigh heavily in San Diego Unified School District which has recently been in the news because of its concerns about a 2.5% decline in enrollment over what was expected this year, according to a recent Union Tribune article.

What, then, of the Coronado Unified School district, which has lost an overall 15% of its prior year’s registered students – according to numbers supplied by the district office?  As in other districts, the lowered numbers seem to hit most heavily the elementary grades, the largest decrease in Coronado Unified is at Village Elementary, which as of September 22, has only 74% registered students compared to the 2019-2020 school year (as reported by the California Department of Education on the California Dashboard). 

Lower numbers don’t mean a decrease in funding this year as schools were protected from expected declines by receiving funding for this year based on last year’s registration numbers.  But this development doesn’t bode well for the future when parents who have opted out might choose to stay in their new educational homes.  

For the 2018-2019 school year, the district received about $9,000 per student for those enrolled.  The total enrollment for CUSD was 3,044 in the 2019/2020 school year and 2,612 as of September 22 of this year.  In a typical year, then, this would amount to a decline of $3.88 million in revenue.  Given that the total revenues of the district were $43.3 million in 2018/2019 school year (the most recent year for which we have fully audited financials), this would mean a nearly 9% hit to the budget.  Given that the CUSD has been deficit spending in varying amounts over at least the last five years, such a hit would be devastating and likely need to lead to significant spending cuts.  

So, will parents who have opted out this year, keep their children out in the future?  It’s hard to say.  Some families have gone to private schools, others to public on-line charters, and perhaps some have even chosen to homeschool their children.  It is possible that some who have chosen private this year will return next year so as to save the expense of private school tuition. But for those who have chosen a public charter school, their days at CUSD could be numbered.  According to one parent of three CUSD students who chose a public on-line charter school for its experience in doing on-line education over a number of years, it’s a coin toss: “Our family has found the right mix between virtual learning and traditional home schooling with Learning Choice Academy.  We get the guidance from teachers, all of the public school resources, but our kids are not in front of a screen all day … instead we have hands on activities and more one on one interactions with our children … I am only 50/50 for returning to CUSD next year because the boys are thriving at LCA.”  

Luan Troxel


Resident letters submitted to Coronado Electorate News & Commentary (CEN&C) are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of CEN&C. Submit letters to

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