PHOENIX (AP) – Schools in 10 of Arizona’s 15 counties have together lost more than 10,000 students in the past decade.
Meanwhile, the Arizona Republic reports that school enrollment in the state’s most populous county has risen by over 70,000.
For rural areas, declining enrollment can mean lost funding that makes it harder to recruit qualified teachers and cutbacks in students’ educational opportunities.
And unlike in suburban districts, rural communities can’t easily offset state funding losses with local taxes.
Without the jobs, families don’t stay and school populations decline and without good schools creating an educated workforce, jobs don’t come.
A 2017 report from The Rural School and Community Trust ranked Arizona as one of the worst states for rural school graduation rates and performance on national standardized tests.