During the summer, school districts throughout the state started filling airwaves and mailboxes with advertisements and fliers about why their school district was the best choice for families.
Two districts, Fort Wayne and South Bend, each spent about $30,000 this year on radio, television, print and Web ads, mailers and yard signs. The ads listed recent student achievements and new academic programs and extracurricular programs offered at the schools. They were an attempt to attract more students to enroll and make up for the hundreds of students both school districts lost last year.
Public schools’ open enrollment policies, the state’s school funding formula and Indiana’s private school voucher program make it easier for students to transfer from one public or private school to another. And public school districts, which receive state funding based on the number of students they have, have been seeing their number of students drop and must find a way to keep them from falling too far.
Local school districts face the same issues. Enrollments for Center Grove, Franklin and Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson schools all dropped this year. Along with state funding losses, districts such as Franklin schools have less money to spend because of property tax caps.