State school officials have verified enrollment in Alabama public schools and numbers show that there are significantly fewer students than last year.
There are about 9,800 fewer students enrolled in public schools and the state isn’t sure what they’re doing or where they went.
According to AL.com, about 15,000 students didn’t go back to the classroom during the pandemic. Around 5,000 of those went to virtual schools, but the state doesn’t know what happened to the other 10,000 that are unaccounted for and didn’t enroll for fall 2020.
State Superintendent Eric Mackey says local school districts know where the majority of those children are, but he is urging them to dig and find the ones they’re not certain about.
Mackey says the missing students could cause trouble for schools next year financially.
The state provides funding based on enrollment numbers from the previous year, and with almost 10,000 fewer students enrolled, he says around 1,200 teaching jobs could be lost.
Mackey says he expects students have either gone to a private school, they’re homeschooling, have left the school district, or just aren’t attending school at all this year.