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Students leaving Forest Grove

State figures show district is the biggest loser in Washington County

Forest Grove School District will have at least another $1 million gap to fill during the coming budget cycle, as the district's fall enrollment dipped below last year's numbers.

All told, the district is on track to lose about 175 students this year and with them goes roughly $6,000 in state funding per student.

And in March, a new state law that makes it easier for parents to move their students into a district they don't reside in kicks in.

That means the district could be in for another wild, unpredictable ride.

Mike Schofield, business manager for the Forest Grove District, said there aren't many tea leaves to read about why students are leaving, or how open enrollment might aid (or hurt) the district.

'It's just going to be very interesting to see how all that plays out,' Schofield said.

According to data released Wednesday morning by the Oregon Department of Education, Forest Grove had the largest drop in enrollment this fall in Washington County, both as a percentage and in numbers.

Forest Grove's enrollment declined by 2.8 percent this year. Banks also saw a dip of 1.2 percent, or roughly 14 students. Gaston lost two students.

But the rest of the county's districts saw enrollment rise. Beaverton's headcount grew by 1 percent, Hillsboro grew by 0.4 percent, Sherwood grew by 1.74 percent and Tigard-Tualatin was relatively flat, growing by 0.02 percent.

Anecdotally, Schofield said the students seem to be leaving schools as their parents follow employment opportunities outside the district.

Whatever the cause, the $1 million hit after years of bad news, is a big deal.

'It's absolutely significant in my mind,' said Schofield.



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