Saturday, March 28, 2009

Flint High School Enrollment: Depressing Math

It's difficult for many Flint Expatriates who haven't been back in a while to realize just how much the city has changed over the years. Some basic numbers from the Flint Community Schools Facilities Advisory Committee Report reveal that the school-age population has disappeared along with the G.M. jobs.

When G.M. employment peaked at approximately 80,000 jobs in 1968, Flint schools (K-12) had 46,557 students.

By the fall of 2008, there were just 14,056 students.

Enrollment is projected to dip to 10,432 students by the fall of 2013. That's a 78% decline since 1968. It means that there will only be about 2,500 high-school students in the entire district.

So why is the city agonizing over whether to close Central or Southwestern? With numbers this low and the budget problems that come with plummeting enrollment, shouldn't the city opt for a single high school for Flint?

The enrollment would still be small compared to the biggest high schools in the country, which tend to be more efficient and offer more classes and programs. Here's a list of the largest high schools by enrollment:

1. Belmont -- Los Angeles 5,299

1. Elizabeth -- Elizabeth, N.J. 5,299

3. Fremont -- Los Angeles 5,083

4. South Gate -- South Gate, Calif. 5,020

5. Roosevelt -- Los Angeles 4,940

6. Monroe -- North Hills, Calif. 4,881

7. Los Angeles -- Los Angeles 4,876

8. Bell -- Bell, Calif. 4,855

9. Garfield -- Los Angeles 4,844

10. Lynwood -- Lynwood, Calif. 4,818

11. Long Beach Polytechnic -- Long Beach, Calif. 4,779

12. Judson -- Converse, Tex. 4,778

13. Sachem -- Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y. 4,718

14. Fort Hamilton -- Brooklyn, N.Y. 4,679

15. Felix Varela -- Miami 4,655

16. San Fernando -- San Fernando, Calif. 4,602

17. G. Holmes Braddock -- Miami 4,598

18. Huntington Park -- Huntington Park, Calif. 4,577

19. Marshall -- Los Angeles 4,550

20. Lane Technical -- Chicago 4,527

21. North Hollywood -- North Hollywood, Calif. 4,509

22. John F. Kennedy -- Bronx, N.Y. 4,422

23. Barbara Goleman -- Miami 4,417

24. Wilson -- Long Beach 4,383

25. Robinson Secondary -- Fairfax County 4,378


  1. Depressing? Yes. But more than enough reason to close schools.

  2. Honestly, I had no idea that my departure from the Flint Public School system in 1968 would have such a profound effect to be realized 40+ years later. Please accept my apology.

    Seriously, these numbers are staggering!

  3. These numbers left me thinking Flint should be planning and creating a single large high school for the entire city. This discussion about whether Central or Southwestern should close is missing the point. They should be deciding which single high school will survive, and what they need to do to make that a good school.

  4. Based on your numbers I could not agree more. At most they need two schools.

  5. Doesn't the name Flint Central sounds like a single high school for Flint?

  6. Your proposal makes sense to me, Gordie.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at