Education

Slowing student growth could cost Wake schools

Posted December 15, 2015 6:28 a.m. EST
Updated December 15, 2015 12:56 p.m. EST

— The Wake County Public School System, the largest in the state, is growing more slowly than predicted, and that could mean a budget blow for schools.

The Board of Education meets Tuesday afternoon with student enrollment projections and the third-quarter budget forecast on the agenda.

According to the published budget, Wake public schools enrolled 155,184 students in 2014-15 and spent an average of $8,856 on each. Over the past five years, the student population has grown by about 13 percent while per-pupil spending has been on the decline.

With student population growing more slowly than expected, the board could see their state and county budget allotments do the same.

District officials that, although more children are being born in Wake County, fewer families are choosing to send their children to public schools. The district's portion of students in the county is down more than 2 percent since 2011. Private schools, charter schools and home schools have seen gains.

Wake County officials estimate that the district has lost about 1,000 students to charter schools.