Cape schools lost 627 kids this year; 7,105 since 2001

Cape school enrollment drops 2.11% in FY2012

627 kids lost this year; 7,105 since 2001

By Walter Brooks

Cape area school enrollment fell by 2.11% in the 2011-2012 school year, with Provincetown suffering the highest loss of 22.4%.

The loss of 627 students in one year is the equivalent of one traditionally-sized middle school building.In Fiscal 2012 area schools enrolled 29,030 students, down from 29,657 in FY2011.  In Fiscal 2001 the same school districts enrolled 36,135 students.

Brewster, Orleans and Truro saw modest increases, while the Sturgis Charter Public School reported at 52.54% increase due to the opening of the Sturgis East campus.  Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School remained stable with its enrollment of 228 students.

Provincetown’s enrollment drop is likely due to the phasing out of Provincetown High School and elementary students attending Truro Central School under school choice.

Chatham’s merger into the Monomoy Regional School District comes as the town schools saw an enrollment drop of 8.10% from 691 to 635 students.  The “other half” of the Monomoy Region – Harwich – saw a modest drop of 1.43%, falling to 1,314 students from last year’s 1,333.

The highest percentage enrollment declines from 2001 to 2012 were observed in Provincetown (69.88%), Dennis-Yarmouth (29.84%) and Brewster (28.12%).

The smart will survive

The loss of 627 students in one year is the equivalent of one traditionally-sized middle school building.

To update the closing words of our October 26, 2011 story about declining enrollments… the region’s school districts are now trying to feed at a trough that has almost 20% less food that it contained in 2001.  This means that some school districts will go hungry.  Others will starve.

Academic excellence, strong school choice marketing and smart leadership will determine which school districts will remain viable as the pool of students continues to dry up.

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