Where have all the school children gone?

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The Rochester City School District is changing what its schools look like and how many school buildings it’ll have.

The main reason is enrollment. In RCSD it’s down 35 percent in 20 years.

So we wondered — where have all the children gone?

And we found enrollment is a problem in just about every school district, although the drop is among the biggest in the city.

According to the New York State Education Department, from 2003 to now, the city school enrollment went from 33,898 to 22,238, a difference of more than 11,000.

Over that same time, charter school enrollment went from 1,715 to 7,977.

Tuesday night, the city school district said it’s trying to get those children back.

Cynthia Elliott, board president: “So that means we’re going to have to make sure that we have the kind of attractive programming for our students that will bring them back and attract them as opposed to keeping them out of the district.”

Carmine Peluso, RCSD Superintendent: “Once we start to do that, I think we can compete with anyone and then anyone will want to be in our schools.”

Superintendent Peluso said birth rate is a problem — there just aren’t as many kids.

In 10 years, his projection presented to the school board put the enrollment in city schools at 13,947.

And it’s not like the children are moving to the suburbs.

In the last 20 years, Brockport is down 34 percent.
Fairport down 25 percent.
Wheatland-Chili down 30 percent.
Pal-Mac down 27 percent.
Batavia down 27 percent.

Every district in Monroe County and the greater Rochester area except Brighton, Pittsford, Hilton and Rush-Henrietta have double-digit declines.