CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Every year there has been a decline in West Virginia public school enrollment since 2014. According to the WV Department of Education, there are 1,400 fewer students this year compared to last year. WVEA President Dale Lee is concerned, but not surprised.
"And it's going to get worse, as more and more people look at other ways of educating their children, particularly with the Hope Scholarship, and getting money for that. You're going to see a decline in all the counties. That's because funding for public schools is based, in part, on enrollment. Fewer students mean less funding through the state school aid formula," President Lee said.
The county has to send out reduction in force letters each year. Although many of those given the letters will be retained, they still have to relocate to a different school. "Anytime you get the letter, it causes you anguish. You develop relationships with the students, relationships with the staff. It's always a difficult time. Knowing that you're in a position gives you a little bit of ease, but having to pull up and change everything is really traumatic for our educators," President Lee said.