Home School

It’s Not Just Commiefornia, Public Schools in Florida Are Dying Too as Parents Have Finally Had Enough of the Degeneracy

Before you continue with this article from The Epoch Times, I recommend reading an earlier article about the “Homeschooling Revolution” from WND News Center which adds some context. Leftist degeneracy is polluting public schools in every state, but cesspools like California and Illinois are the worst off. You know it’s bad when even Californians are sick of how degenerate their schools are and are fleeing to home schools and private schools in droves.

Homeschooling Revolution: Leftists Retaliate Against Homeschooling as Parents Flee Degenerate, Failing Public Schools

(The Epoch Times)—In light of steadily declining enrollment in the Broward County Public School System, district officials are preparing for the probability of closing some of its facilities.

In an initiative called “Redefining Our Schools,” Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) officials are developing possible strategies to address the district’s chronic decline in enrollment at their traditional public schools.

“Over the years, some schools have experienced significant enrollment changes, as families have moved to different areas or selected other school options,” the BCPS website states. “The District is exploring ways to reduce the number of under-enrolled schools to ensure equitable funding and instructional resources across the District.”

To involve the community in the planning process, the district has held a series of town hall meetings. The first meeting was held at Fort Lauderdale High on Feb. 8. The second was at J.P. Taravella High in Coral Springs on Feb. 15, and the third was held at Charles W. Flanagan High in Pembroke Pines on Feb. 22.

At the Feb. 22 town hall meeting, BCPS Superintendent Peter Licata informed attendees that enrollment in the district had fallen from 259,130 students in the 2004-2005 school year to 201,273 in the 2023-2024 school year.

While district officials have yet to release a preliminary list of schools under consideration for combination, repurposing, rezoning, or closure, he said the district did release a list of the 67 schools that are the most under-enrolled schools, operating at 70 percent or less of their full capacity.

With an enrollment loss of approximately 24,000 students, Broward is seeing an annual loss of $207 million to the district.

Further enrollment decline is expected.

Across the district, it’s estimated that there are 50,000 empty seats, as 68 of the district’s 332 schools are under-enrolled. Of those, 46 are elementary schools, 17 are middle schools, and five are high schools.

“This process probably should have started about 10 years ago,” Mr. Licata confessed at the Feb. 22 town hall meeting, adding, “We have some time to catch up, but we got to do it quickly.”

Methods proposed to address the decline in enrollment are to combine schools by merging the under-enrolled facilities into one school. One possibility is combining two of the under-enrolled elementary schools to create K-8 or 6-12 schools.

Another proposal is to repurpose some under-enrolled locations by turning all or part of a facility into a space to provide community services. Another consideration is selling or leasing properties to address community needs, such as affordable housing.

Closures are also possible, in which case students will be reassigned to another school.

Also considered is the idea of reconfiguring attendance zones.

‘Many Choices’

According to statistics presented in the 2024-2025 BCPS Budget Workshop on Jan. 30, attendance at Broward’s traditional public schools fell from 221,000 students during the 2014-2015 school year to 197,000 in the 2023-2024 school year, a decline of more than 20,000 students. In the meantime, enrollment in charter schools has grown, rising from 41,000 to 50,000 during that same decade.

The largest increase is the number of Broward students taking advantage of Florida’s Family Empowerment Scholarship—used to pay for private schools or homeschool programs—increasing to 26,000 in the 2023-2024 school year from just 3,000 during the 2014-2015 school year, more than eight times what it was 10 years ago.

Virtual learning programs are another option.

According to Public School Review, Broward’s virtual instruction program currently serves 403 students. While the number may seem small, it is a 444 percent increase from five years ago.

Homeschooling is another choice. Data compiled by Brighterly shows that Florida ranked second in the nation (22.5 percent) for the number of home-school students in 2023. Data provided by the Florida DOE showed 10,412 (around 6.8 percent) of Broward’s students were being home-schooled during the 2021-2022 school year. For the 2022-2023 school year, that number fell to 6,182. However, with the decline in enrollments and fewer students in the BCPS system, the percentage of homeschooled students dipped only slightly to 6.36 percent.

Charter schools are also drawing students away from traditional public schools in Broward.

Data from the Florida Department of Education shows that charter school enrollment has increased steadily over the past decade.

During the 2013-2014 school year, 229,428 students were enrolled in charter schools.

For the 2022-2023 school year, charter school enrollment hit 382,367 students.

More charter schools were created to accommodate the increased enrollment, growing from 658 in 2019 to 726 in 2023.

“We must acknowledge that our community’s educational needs and expectations have changed over the years and will continue to change,” Mr. Licata said at the Feb. 22 town hall. “BCPS is no longer the only option. Parents and students have many choices.”