Enrollment continues to decline in Salem schools

SALEM — Enrollment in the Salem Public Schools is expected to drop by 116 this fall, marking a loss of about 1,000 students in less than a decade. But Salem isn’t the only system facing decreased enrollment.

Peabody, Danvers, Marblehead, Hamilton-Wenham and Swampscott have also seen enrollments drop in the past five years. In fact, the only nearby district where the student population is continuing to grow is Beverly.

Ask Salem officials why this is happening, and two answers come up: changing demographics in the city paired with the cost to live in the area, and options like Essex Tech and Salem Academy Charter School drawing students outside of the district.

Since the 2011-12 academic year, Salem’s enrollment has dipped by an average of 151 students a year. The New England School Development Council predicts a drop of another 116 students this fall.

There were 4,596 students attending Salem schools in the 2011-12 school

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