I have a sub this afternoon, so I should be writing my sub note. Plus my cereal is getting soggy. But we talked about the declining student count all over our county at our staff meeting last night, and I wanted to know more about it. So without further ado:
Number of Public School Districts in Michigan, 1976-2012
In the '70s, Michigan had 579 Local Educational Authorities. I'm not sure, but my guess is that that means school districts. In the '80s, there seems to have been a mild push for consolidation, since by 1992, there were 559 school districts. This number was fairly stable, and for the next 20 years, we have lost 10--in 2011-12, there were 549 school districts.
In 1993, the first public school academy / charter school opened in Michigan. They have grown since then, often bumping up against state-mandated caps in their early years. In 2011-12 there were 256, up nine from the previous year. This growing effect means that the state of Michigan has increased the number of school authorities since the 90's to a total of 862 different local school authorities. (Charter schools and public schools operate with different administrations. For that matter, they play by different rules.)
Since the 1970's, Michigan has had a student population decrease of almost half a million students or 25%. We used to have over 2 million kids, now we have a little over 1.5 million. So to a certain extent the consolidation of public schools, while tragic for us in the teaching industry, is understandable and necessary.
How this jives with increasing the number of school entities and spreading increasingly rare resources even more thinly truly escapes me.