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Another year, another enrollment loss for Glendale Unified

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Glendale Unified is projecting a second straight year that enrollment has dropped by more than a 200 students in a report delivered to the school board. The sagging numbers were, in part, due to 1,129 students who left the district between last year and this year, led by 93 who left Toll Middle School.
(File photo)

For a second straight year, Glendale Unified is projecting an enrollment drop of more than 200 students in a report provided to the school board last week.

Hagop Eulmessekian, the district’s director of student support services, confirmed 233 fewer students enrolled this year compared to last year at the district’s elementary, middle and high school campuses.

The sagging numbers were, in part, due to 1,129 students who left the district between last school year and this school year.

“Student enrollment is a continuous process in Glendale,” Eulmessekian said. “In any school district, students check in and check out all the time.”

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Balboa and Fremont elementary schools reported the largest declines among elementaries, with decreases of 67 and 66 students, respectively, while Toll Middle School lost 93 students, and Glendale High‘s enrollment dropped by 68 students.

“My concern is the students who live in Glendale … GUSD should be one of their No. 1 choices,” board vice president Armina Gharpetian said during the meeting.

Of those who transferred, 581 enrolled in other public schools, 118 in private schools, 144 left California, 77 moved to another country and 209 did not say where they were going.

The biggest public-school destination was Burbank Unified, which enrolled 50 former Glendale Unified students. Burbank High School led the way with 23 students, while John Muir Middle School was second with 21.

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Among private schools, Village Christian was the No. 1 destination for Glendale Unified students as 18 left the district for the school located in Sun Valley.

While the statistics are not final and will likely change slightly in January, Glendale appears headed for its second consecutive year of a significant enrollment drop after losing 282 students last year.

Glendale Unified had 25,789 students last year, according to figures from the California Department of Education.

If Glendale does lose 233 students, that would result in a nearly 1% decline in enrollment.

While no financial statistics were presented during the meeting and district officials did not immediately respond to questions from the Glendale News-Press, the ramifications of such a loss could loom large.

Glendale Unified received $9,224.80 per student in state funding last year, according to a December report from School Services of California, a business, financial and management advocacy educational resource group.

A drop of 233 students would equate to a $2.15-million annual loss for Glendale Unified, a deficit-spending district that chopped $5 million in expenses from this year’s budget.

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“We get a little bit uneasy talking about enrollment because it’s kind of taking students and talking about them in financial terms,” board member Shant Sahakian said.

“At the end of the day, it’s about getting resources that we then could use to provide our students with the best experience possible,” he added.

Glendale Unified issued 415 new interdistrict permits or granted permission to students outside Glendale wanting to attend local public schools this school year, which does help offset the students who left.

Eulmessekian said the district has conducted exit interviews with 265 families who left to figure out reasons behind the departures.

While some board members expressed surprise about the enrollment decrease, the issue has been ongoing.

Glendale Unified’s enrollment has shrunk in nine of the last 10 years and is well off its enrollment of 30,329 students who started the 2000-01 school year.

District staff even estimated a loss of 250 students this year when it passed its budget in June.

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