Baldwin County Schools Grow While Most AL Schools Shrink

Gulf Shores, AL (WKRG)
School officials continue to try and deal with the growth of the school population in Baldwin County. A recent news five investigation shows Baldwin County had the highest student growth in the state. I looked at every school system’s average daily membership or ADM in 2011 to the most recent data posted last year. Baldwin added more 2,000 students. That’s the most for any school system in Alabama.

“That’s basically a new elementary school every year and we haven’t done anything capitally from a facilities standpoint to address that,” said the Chairman of the Community Advisory Task Force for Baldwin County Schools Kevin Corcoran. He expects more growth.

“Growth is not a state focus, it needs to be a Baldwin county focus,” said Corcoran. Baldwin County has grown the most statewide but growth isn’t normal. More than two-thirds of all school districts in the state are shrinking. The biggest school district in the state is losing the second largest number of students. From 2011 to 2015 Mobile County lost more than 4,000 kids. More than half of those students now go to city schools like Chickasaw and Satsuma which broke away in that time.

Shelby County Schools experienced the largest ADM drop in the state. From 2011 to 2015 Shelby County’s ADM went down by a figure of 8,256.25.

Corcoran says the current school system benefits systems losing students because the numbers used for funding are more than a year old by the time the state doles out money. We should see soon if the growth trend is continuing in Baldwin County. Average daily membership numbers for the 2016-2017 school year should be posted in the next few weeks.

My analysis was based on spreadsheets downloaded from the Alabama State Department of Education Data Center. I’ve linked to that download page here. I’ve also posted a summary of my analysis. I’ve sorted this list by the highest gains in ADM to the biggest losses. My PDF does not include data on the five city school districts created between 2011 and 2015. Those account for more than 12,000 students. Even factoring that in, the student population in public schools statewide is on the decline for the period of time I examined.

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