Student Enrollment Expected to Drop Below 10,000 in Bedford - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Student Enrollment Expected to Drop Below 10,000 in Bedford

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Mark Blankenship has been working for the past four years to monitor the amount of students in Bedford County, and as he reported to the school board Thursday night, the number of kids in the county's public classrooms is going down drastically.

Next year's projection is fewer than 10,000, the lowest number this board has seen in years. This adds complications to the staffing in classrooms and to the school system's bank account.

"It's a decrease in the amount of state funding that we receive. If we lose 230 students, that's a lot of money," Blankenship said.

Spokesman Ryan Edwards tells us the school would lose more than $4,000 per student that fell under the 10,000 mark, meaning Bedford is projected to lose almost $200,000 next school year.

Blankenship told the board that kindergarten classes are getting smaller each year and almost 70 kids transferred out last year alone.

"We have a larger number of students being home-schooled and ... we have had some transfers out to private schools," Blankenship said.

With the declining numbers in front of them, the board had a lot of questions. But Blankenship says there aren't easy answers.

"There are only so many kids that are being born each year in Bedford County, and they are coming in five years later, so I hope that the number of kids will remain steady and not drop any further," he said.

Until then, all the board can do is wait for next year's enrollment and hope it doesn't drop below that crucial mark.