Monday, December 31, 2012

Private School Enrollment and the Decline of Bishop Maginn

Every school has fluctuation in enrollments as does the Section as a whole, but sometimes you can see a trend develop and for someone who relies on enrollments for my models, that it very worth noting.  Since the 2006-2007 season total Section enrollment is down 9.6% or 4,663 students.  That number has declined every year in that span.  While most schools have seen a slight decline, not all schools have and some have had dramatic drops in enrollment in that time.

Of the 96 schools that have played in Section 2 over the past 5 seasons, only 14 (14.51%) have an increase enrollment over that first season.  Of those, only 6 (6.25%) are Public schools, and only Schuylerville (1.05%) has increased their enrollment by greater than 3%.  By my count there are currently 15 Private schools and 8 (53.33%) of them have increased their enrollment over that time.  Part of this is due to the financial collapse in 2008.  When people don't have jobs, or fear they might lose theirs they are less likely to spend money, even on important things like education.  Between the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons 10 of the 13 Private schools operational at the time (not including Green Tech and Albany Leadership) saw a decrease in enrollment. 

Since then, most of the schools have rebounded with 6 bringing enrollment back above pre 2008 levels.  Three more are within 80% of their 2008 level and three more are over 70%.  If you're counting that's 12 of the 13 that are within 70% of where they were prior to the financial collapse.  That one remaining is Bishop Maginn which is currently at 32.9% of it's 2008 level.  Right now they have a lower enrollment than Doane Stuart, Loudonville Christian, Saratoga Catholic, Mekeel Academy and Bishop Gibbons, all schools that are in lower classes and two of them are in D.  The only school they have more students than is Hawthorne Valley. 

I believe the main reason for this decline is not due to the financial collapse, though that did have some influence, but rather the opening of Green Tech and Albany Leadership.  There are more financial benefits to families for sending their children to Charter schools than to Parochial schools.  This could explain why Bishop Maginn is having a down year and why Green Tech is surging.  Albany City schools have also felt the effect of the new Charter Schools.  The enrollment at these schools more than makes up for the 32% loss at Albany and the 204% loss at Bishop Maginn. 

At this point it's too early to say Bishop Maginn belongs anywhere but AA, but if they don't find a way to stop the slide in talent they won't be for long and if they don't find a way to stop the slide in enrollment their doors won't be open for long either.

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