We have been blogging about the financial challenges facing school districts in New York state due to the economic recession, the 2 percent property tax cap, and other factors. Click here for a recent post on the topic. This good article in The New York Times discusses some of the trouble trends facing many larger school districts across the country. It reports that half of the school districts in the country have seen steady declines in enrollment over the last five years. This is significant for many reasons, not the least of which is that part of school financing is often allocated on a per pupil basis. Fewer students means less money, which in turn, means fewer teachers, fewer programs, and reduced capital investments. This could render many public schools even less competitive, further accelerating these enrollment declines. The article points out that there are many factors responsible for the declining enrollments. However, interestingly, in some areas, the steady rise and growing popularity of charter schools are contributing to these enrollment shifts. Overall, this is a very sobering picture for many public school systems, which are in desperate need for solutions.