Florida public schools will face their largest enrollment spike in six years, reports the Orlando Sentinel. An additional 16,946 students are expected to enroll next fall. This marks the third consecutive year of rising enrollment counts.
This puts additional pressure on an already strained state budget, as the rising student count could require an additional $115.8 million from the state.
Currently, funding for public school takes up about $18 billion of the state’s $70 billion budget.
However, this could also be an indication that the state’s economy is improving if it means fewer residents are leaving Florida.
“The decline does seem to have ended and we may be seeing a little bit of a turnaround,” Stan Smith, director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida, told the Sentinel. “The school increase is very small. But we’ve also seen a slight increase in employment numbers and a rise in residential electric customers. People are no longer leaving Florida the way they were.”