Lauderdale County student enrollment is declining and school officials are voicing their concerns.
“We’ve taken a good look at it. At first, we thought, well we got some pretty, strong private schools in Lauderdale County. They’re very proactive. Homeschooling, we felt, is bigger than it’s ever been in the past,” said Superintendent Randy Hodges.
But Hodges explained that the bottom line is that the county is losing citizens.
“In the 2010 census of Lauderdale County there was 80,000 citizens. In 2015 when we did the
census, it was 77,000.”
Within the last five years, the district has lost over 300 students, and as school enrollment declines, so does funding.
“We get so much per child, so enrollment is really important. That’s kind of the foundation we manage on, so it’s really key that we continue to grow versus losing students,” said Hodges.
He shared his views as to why citizens are leaving the county.
“We have to bring big plants in and high paying jobs. We have to do a better job with violence in this community, and we have to do an outstanding job of offering an outstanding educational system.”
To offer an outstanding educational system, Hodges said everyone will have to do their part.
“I think if Mississippi is going to move forward, it’s going to be done in a big way through the public-school system. Ninety percent of the students educated in Mississippi are through the public schools, so that in of itself tells you the public schools must do a good job.”
The district receives $5,600 for each student enrolled. Due to the decline in student enrollment, Hodges said the district has lost $1 million in state funding. To cover the shortfall, the district has implemented a two percent tax increase on property taxes.