As Clark County’s largest school districts grappled with budget cuts this summer, most faced a somewhat surprising culprit: declining enrollment.
Vancouver and Evergreen Public Schools projected enrollment drops of hundreds of students this school year, and with that, millions of dollars in lost state allocations – projections that have largely held true as school kicked off.
But with sprawling growth in Clark County, why are the area’s most urban districts apparently shrinking? Blame those darn millennials.
OK, as with any story about millennials ruining or killing something, it’s more complicated than that. Experts point to underlying demographic and economic trends disproportionately affecting the county’s young adults, leading to a cooling in birth rates and, in turn, lower school enrollment.
“The bottom line is that the enrollment drops are greatest in the school districts that aren’t getting much new single-family residential development, coupled with declining birth rates,” said Eric Hovee, a Clark County demographer who works with school districts.