BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Numbers from the first day of classes in Brevard Public Schools showed a drop in enrollment of more than 14,000 students.
The statistics were revealed during Tuesday night’s school board meeting where board members also learned 5,568 students had opted for homeschooling, an increase of 1,042 over last year.
Superintendent Mark Mullins called on parents to enroll their children in school, whether it be for in-person learning or virtually.
“At this point, working with staff, we’re not alarmed with the enrollment,” he said.
He pointed out the attendance count was being conducted manually, counting children in classrooms and on virtual learning platforms.
He also addressed the Zoom outage that could have resulted in some students not being counted.
But school board member Tina Descovich took a different approach to the numbers.
“I appreciate that you’re not panicked, but that’s a $100 million price tag if those families don’t enroll their children in our schools,” she said. “I think it’s okay to panic. That changes the look of Brevard Public Schools.”
“If that continues to maintain, absolutely,” Mullins responded.
Board members were also warned about a separate potential budget issue: a possible reduction in funding from Tallahassee due to reduced revenue.
According to a BPS report discussed at the meeting, a worst-case scenario could see Brevard schools losing $22.4 million.
Right now, the district said they were analyzing positions as they become vacant, restricting out of county travel, seeing if the CARES Act funding may help, and analyzing all positions district-wide.
School leaders said they will also be readdressing the district’s budget every quarter to see if there were adjustments that needed to be made.
They also said they would have a more solid attendance outlook after official counts are conducted on Thursday and Monday.