Home and private schools not cause of Fayette schools’ enrollment drop

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Student enrollment in Fayette County public schools has been falling for several years. And though there are likely a number of reasons for the decrease, the flight to private schools or home schooling is not among them.

The Fayette County School System during the past six years has seen a relatively consistent average of 1,287 students per year attending private schools and another 809 being home-schooled. These figures come from the school system itself.

On a year by year basis, fewer Fayette students are being home-schooled and attending private schools this year than three years ago.

The student enrollment in Fayette’s public schools over the past decade grew from 19,240 in 2000-2001 to 22,367 in 2006-2007. The numbers have decreased since that time, with recent school system figures for the 2010—2011 year totaling 20,913 students.

With virtually no new residential growth and the recession still in evidence, the short-term forecast includes further incremental drops in enrollment during the next two years.

Enrollment information provided by the school system shows an average of 1,287 students attending private school between 2005-2006 and 2010-2011 and an average of 809 students being home-schooled during the same period.

A tabulation by year showed 904 students in private schools in 2005-2006, 1,157 in 2006-2007, 1,334 in 2007-2008, 1,039 in 2008-2009, 1,291 in 2009-2010 and 1,287 in 2010-2011.

The numbers for students home-schooled was also relatively consistent, with 827 on 2005-2006, 866 in 2006-2007, 844 in 2007—2008, 785 in 2008-2009, 842 in 2009-2010 and 694 in 2010-2011.

The school system information also noted the various private elementary, middle and high schools being attended. At the top of the list for the current school year is Landmark Christian in Fairburn and Peachtree City with 269 Fayette County students, followed by Trinity Christian in Sharpsburg with 136, Woodward Academy in College Park with 118 and St. Paul Lutheran in Peachtree City with 115.

In all, 1,287 Fayette students attended a total of 40 private schools this year.