Archived: EDITORIAL: Twenty Percent Less Students Should Mean 20 Percent Fewer Desks


According to a study co-authored by a professor of urban planning and demography at USC, an analysis of the 2010 census data shows that over the last decade there has been a 21 percent decrease in the number of children aged 5 to 9 in Los Angeles County.

That number is substantially higher than the 8.1 percent fewer children in the same age group statewide.

Recent budget discussions and protests focused on the potential layoff of teachers, rarely, if ever, take into consideration the fact that our school age population has continued to decline. The shift in population has also been ignored when allocating resources to build new schools or upgrade existing school facilities.

We have to wonder what the shrinking child population means for school districts in the County, both in the short and long term. Will it mean continuing to support a school infrastructure designed to meet the needs of thousands more children than will actually attend local schools? Will it result in even more per pupil funding losses?

If all the number crunching is correct and we have lost thousands of children aged 5 to 9, then why the need for so many larger class sizes in the early grades?

Who do we believe and how can this dichotomy exist?

One thing we do know is that if the exit of families from Los Angeles County continues, the workforce numbers in the area will look mighty dim for the future of our economy, and should be a concern to business owners. Who is going to do the work?

We don’t believe that most residents of Los Angeles City and County want to see teachers or other school staff lose their jobs, but neither did we want to see any other area workers lose their jobs. A long view should be taken of local population trends, and that may mean LAUSD teachers will have to do more to help keep their co-workers in their jobs.

It is not a pretty scenario by any means, but neither is the exodus of more and more families who are unable to afford the high cost of staying put.

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