Utah’s population is expanding. Yet, for some school districts in quickly growing communities — Ogden, Murray, and Salt Lake City — the numbers are moving in the opposite direction. In the Logan City School District, the annual October enrollment count has dropped for at least the seventh year in a row.
Logan City schools lost 144 students this year, bringing total enrollment to 5,425 — a 9% drop since 2014, according to the district’s superintendent, Frank Schofield.
Schofield said that while there are many complicated factors, the biggest reason for the drop is that people are moving out of the district.
In some ways, the Logan City School District is a victim of the area’s success. Logan has seen strong economic growth and it’s got a budding tech scene, but that’s also driving up home prices.
“The challenge [we face] is the challenge that a lot of communities in Utah have faced,” Schofield said. “It’s how you balance the economic growth and the affordability of housing for the families in your community.”
Jenny Johnson, the vice president of the Logan City Board of Education as well as a mother of a student in the district, said she’s seen starter home prices jump from around $180,000 a few years ago up to $280,000.
Schofield said that’s concentrated in Logan, where there are more jobs but less available land to develop than surrounding areas.
The district could face challenges if the trend continues. The Salt Lake City School District, for example, has run into similar issues and is considering shutting down one of its elementary schools because of decreased enrollment.
Schofield said the district does not have plans to make cuts, but it will continue to monitor its funds closely.
“What we’ll just be doing is making sure that we’re prioritizing those funds to go towards the things that we feel are most important, which is our staff,” he said.