ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. — Declining enrollment in Michigan schools is causing districts across the state to lose funding.
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, some parents say they are switching to homeschooling. According to the U.S Census Bureau, its a trend the pandemic has sparked nationwide.
The state of Michigan's budget provides schools with $8,700 per student attending public schools.
When a student leaves the district to homeschool, the schools lose that money.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey showed that last year in Michigan, homeschooling enrollment jumped from 5.3% to 11.3%.
“We’ve got quite the community of homeschool families here and so we get together and do all sorts of things together,” said Rachael McKinnon, who has been homeschooling her kids for seven years.
According to the Superintendent at the Allegan Area Educational Service Agency, Allegan county is down 600 students this compared to last year, due to pandemic related issues.
Losing those students costs the schools in the county about $5.2 million dollars this year.
News Channel 3 talked to parents who said COVID-19 had a lot to do with their decision to home school.
“There was no certainty of what was going to happen through the school year. I knew keeping them on a routine was more important than sending them to public school at that time,” said Lauren McKenzie, who homeschooled her kids last year.
The parents News Channel 3 spoke with said the benefits of homeschooling are a flexible schedule and freedom to teach their kids what they want.
“My children learn differently than other kids so being able to personalize their learning and what I teach them was cool,” said Amanda Cates, who started homeschooling last year.
The Allegan Area Educational Service Agency’s superintendent said they try to perform exit interviews with families who leave the district to see how schools can improve.
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