Home School Trend May Hit District 51 Budget

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

The number of kids in home school has jumped 74 percent across the country in just eight years, according to new numbers from the Department of Education.

And although Mesa County School District 51 is happy parents have choices,
it says the move from school to home could put a dent in the budget.

Stephanie Boda has been home schooling her kids for 20 years and says she likes the freedom to teach to her kids' strengths.

"I think that we're able to tailor their education we have. You know you're children best," Boda told 11 News on Wednesday.

The mother of eight says it's not just academics, she believes her family is closer because of it.

"It's encouraging family, it's encouragin family ties."

More and more families are joining Stephanie Boda to bring school into their homes.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics there are now 1.5 million children in home school.

In Mesa County in the last four years, more kids are leaving District 51 for home school--197 kids in the 2005–2006 school year compared to 219 in the 2008-2009 school year.

District Spokeswoman Christy Mcgee says those numbers can be deceiving and growth is playing a role but says something is changing in parents.

"We need to find out why are parents choosing home school and look at studies like this," Mcgee told 11 News on Wednesday.

She says the school district supports the choice and wants what's best for kids but if the number of kids leaving outweighs the number coming in, it could be bad for the budget.

"If we lost thousands of kids we would lose funding."

She says that hasn't happened yet.

But as parents like Stephanie Boda look to home schooling, they may never go back to public school.

"I wouldn't do it any other way," said Boda.

And while the chairs around her kitchen table are full, this trend could leave more chairs empty in District 51 classrooms.

School District 51 says some kids who leave for home schooling come back or enroll part–time.

Officials say they don't know how much funding they may have gained or lost from those kids because it's difficult to track.

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