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After Years Of Decline, DCPS Enrollment Levels Off

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By Patrick Madden

After years of steady decline, student enrollment at D.C. public schools appears to have bottomed out. The latest figures show DCPS enrollment down less than one percent from the year before.

Compare that to the last three years, when enrollment dropped, on average, by seven percent.

Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee says the city has 'turned the tide' on enrollment loss. And, she says when you add the number of students attending charter schools, enrollment in all D.C. public schools is up by about 1,500 students.

"Many people said they didn't think it was possible for both DCPS and charter school enrollment to increase because they thought if DCPS is going to gain students, the charter schools are going to lose them and vice versa," says Rhee.

Rhee says DCPS should actually gain students next year, which hasn't happened in nearly four decades. Enrollment figures, and projections, are important. The city uses them to figure out how much money to set aside for the school budget.

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Since Prohibition, Montgomery County has held the purse strings on liquor sales, meaning the county sells every drink from beer to bourbon to local bars and restaurants. But local business owners are pushing back from this system, claiming it lacks efficiency and leaves customers waiting. County officials say they are holding out for alternatives that protect those within the industry. We discuss both sides of the issue today.

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