Declining enrollment: VCSC expected to lose 1,000 students by 2031

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– The Vigo County School Corporation has lost 695 students since spring 2020 and they expect to lose a total of 1,000 by 2031.

This steep decline in enrollment became the focus of Monday’s school board meeting, postponing a planned conversation regarding the high school construction project.

After completing two demographic studies, the school corporation expects to have as few as 13,000 students by 2030.

Dr. Rob Haworth, Vigo County Schools Superintendent said they’re working to retain and attract students to Vigo County.

“We have to figure out how to address the loss of enrollment naturally,” he explained. “Then we have to think about the students that live in our district and how they are taking advantage of virtual schools or other schools even though they are living right here in Vigo county.”

School officials also said they’ve lost some students to virtual learning and homeschool as a result of the pandemic. But they expect to gain back 80 percent of those students.

Dr. Haworth said the county’s shrinking population also contributes to their loss.

“There are some economic reasons that are above or beyond the control of the schools but from a school stand point some of those are COVID-19 related. Some of those may be offerings or they may not be satisfied with Vigo County schools.”

Dr. Haworth said they are in the process of developing a plan, but they want to find a way to retain as many students as possible.

“We’re asking the board to make this a focal point for them,” he continued.  “How do we create that business model that allows us to attract students here, provide them a quality education while also protecting the brick and mortar and the teachers inside that brick and mortar building?”

School board officials plans to begin discussions about the high school project at the next public works meeting.

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