At the September 13, 2023 Board Meeting, Superintendent Churchill opened the meeting with a Superintendent Report about an unexpected decline in student enrollment. A summary is provided below:
The “Surprise” of Declining Enrollment
CUSD enrollment steadily increased for years…until 2020, when over 600 students left during our year-long school closures. The Superintendent had been projecting flat enrollment ever since, but at the September Board Meeting he admitted enrollment had fallen by 142 students. He then claimed he wasn’t surprised because the regional birth rate “began to decline” around 2017, which explained the recent drop primarily in the incoming Kindergarten class.
The Problem? Both of his statements turned out to be lies.
Instead of comparing our 2023 First Day Enrollment (est. 10,884) with our 2022 First Day Enrollment (11,104), he compared our 2023 First Day Enrollment with a 2022 mid-year enrollment count (11,026) which is known to be lower, thus minimizing the size of the decline. The real number? 219.
And that “sudden” drop in birth rates?
Verifiably false. Birth rates have been falling steadily since 2007 as enrollment increased, meaning birth rates had no effect on enrollment. Further, if the drop started in 2017, he would have known this for years and built it into the budget projections, which as recently as June 2023 have been predicting steady, not falling, enrollment, for the next 3 years.
Why does this matter?
Aside from having a Superintendent who is deliberately dishonest with the Board and the public, enrollment is the primary driver of public school funding. When enrollment drops (especially this drastically), CUSD loses millions of dollars and is forced to cut teachers, salaries and student services. This drop could cost us $2,500,000 (and pay the salary of 25 teachers). Unexpected declines are even worse, as it indicates that the Superintendent is unable to manage the District.
What is causing the decline?
This is a question the Board should be asking. It’s certainly not a coincidence that CUSD has been constantly in the news due to controversial issues being pushed by the Superintendent, which may be turning families away from public education. The Superintendent mentioned that home prices make Carlsbad unaffordable for families, but that's also not true. Many families from the Bay Area moved to Carlsbad during the pandemic. Why aren't they putting their kids in CUSD?
Email the Board and ask them for the truth about our enrollment!