USA Today: Midwest School Districts Hammered by Population Loss

STEVEN RICH WRITES IN USA TODAY:

Midwest states saw the largest net loss of school buildings from 2006-07 to 2010-11 school years, according to Education Department data.

The Midwest has lost more than 2,100 public schools in recent years as school districts hammered by population loss scrambled to shift students and save money.

From 2006-07 through 2010-11, the region saw a net loss of 2,110 K-12 schools, according to a USA TODAY analysis of U.S. Department of Education data. The rest of the nation had a net gain of 965, largely from growth in the West.

The closings — which often see students moved to other buildings in a district — can affect home prices and businesses and often take an emotional toll on residents.

“It’s like losing the soul of the community,” said Terry Ryan, vice president for Ohio Programs & Policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a public policy center focused on education. “It’s a painful experience.”

The Midwest has been losing schools for some time, but the trend has accelerated in the past decade, largely because of economic issues, Ryan said. READ MORE.

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