It’s census season, meaning there’s a lot of attention on how many people live where right now, but population numbers and projections are always changing, even between census years. In 2018, the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments forecast a slowdown in population growth in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. And that trend is beginning to appear, including in public school classrooms.
Salinas Union High School District and one of its largest feeder districts, Alisal Union, are showing signs of an enrollment decline. Both districts generate revenue from a funding formula including state funds. Those funds are dependent on average daily attendance. That means one student is the equivalent of a certain amount of state funding for a school, with the amount varying per fiscal year, based on the state’s budget.
It started slowly. Between the 2015-16 and 2017-18 school years, Alisal Union School District lost 31 students. But then from 2017-18 to 2018-19, the district lost 327 students.