In Districts Where Seniors Outnumber Children, Schools Adjust
Seniors now outnumber students in more than 900 counties across the U.S., Census data show
The 1,000-student Allegheny Valley district in Pennsylvania boasts generations of alumni and a community so involved with the schools that high school graduation becomes an open celebration in downtown Springdale Borough. Yet the district hasn't asked for a tax increase in three years, and it is pushing out a message to older residents about energy conservation, equipment reuse, and other cost savings.
Allegheny Valley is located in one of more than 900 counties where residents 65 and older now edge out school-age children. Out of more than 3,000 counties and county equivalents nationwide, seniors outnumber schoolchildren by more than 2-to-1 in 33 counties, recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau show. Educators in such counties are grappling with ways to keep the older community engaged in and supportive of their schools, from bringing older residents into classes to reframing education issues to address safety and economic concerns.
"We're conscious of the fact that our population is more skewed to the senior population," said Allegheny Valley Superintendent Cheryl A. Griffith, "and countywide, we're probably in the lower third of income; many of our seniors...
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