Report: Net loss of 1,500 students

ELKHART — The largest school district in Elkhart County is losing more than 1,500 students through transfers, a new report from the Indiana Department of Education shows.

The state reports that 1,922 students who live within Elkhart Community Schools’ boundaries are attending other school districts this school year, partially offset by 331 students who are transferring to Elkhart from outside the district’s boundaries. 

That brings the district’s overall net loss to 1,591, an improvement from the 1,770 students who transferred out of the district the previous year. 

Of the 13,865 students residing in the Elkhart district, 1,531 left to attend other public schools or charter schools and 391 transferred to private schools, according to state data.

“While this week’s report showing the 2019-2020 transfers is not where Elkhart Community Schools would ideally like to be, we’re pleased at the improvement over last year,” ECS Superintendent Steve Thalheimer said in a statement. “In the 2019-2020 school year, Elkhart had 136 fewer students choose to leave the district and an additional 25 choose to transfer into the district compared to 2018-2019. I’m proud and thankful more of our students and families are seeing the exciting changes we have at Elkhart and are coming home to Elkhart Schools.”

Here is a breakdown of where the students are transferring:

Outgoing public transfers by parent choice: 533 to Concord, 318 to Penn-Harris-Madison, 234 to Middlebury, 120 to Baugo, 82 to Goshen, 57 to Union School Corp., 22 to School of Mishawaka and Wa-Nee, eight to Fairfield, three to East Noble, two to South Bend, one each to Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson United, Indianapolis and Westview corporations

Transfers to public charter schools: 59 to Indiana Connections Academy, 14 to Insight School of Indiana, five to Success Academy Primary School, three each to Career Academy High School and Indiana Connections Career Academy, and one each to Options Charter School-Carmel, Indiana Academy for Science, Math and Humanities, Options Charter School Noblesville and Career Academy Middle School.

Non-public transfers by Choice Scholarship: 112 to St. Vincent de Paul School, 91 to Elkhart Christian Academy, 66 to St Thomas The Apostle School, 44 to Marian High School, 29 to Trinity Lutheran School, 11 to The Crossing Educational Center, nine to Bethany Christian School, seven to Queen of Peace School, six to St Pius X Catholic School, four to Clinton Christian School and St. Joseph High School, three to Granger Christian School, and one each to St. John Evangelist School, Indiana Academy and Corpus Christi School.

(12) comments


Yes many students live here and go to school elsewhere.My neighbors are teachers and take their kids to Middlebury. I have tenants that take theirs to Concord. Not so unusual. Elkhart administration needs to start with honesty and a plan of improvement with retention. Doable but not with excuses, simple honesty.


Yes I will admit I am not 100% correct about the "Vouchers"... but I am correct than many send their students "Out of District" and that is money out of local "lived in" districts pockets... What ever the manor, being able send you kid anywhere has hurt a lot of local systems...SB and Elkhart....


Nope DingFod U R wrong! No where in this story is ANY mention of the voucher system. But there is ample proof that these students families have moved outside the Elkhart school system. Certainly an ex Elkhart student does not decide to attend Fairfield or Middlebury or other peripheral school systems without the family moving. These parents would be responsible for their students transport. Figure out the money shortage! I believe the state provides $6250 per student. 1500 x $6250= $9,375,000 shortage. That's a lot of money! But hey the snake oil salesman that left the schools with this new consolidation did a fine job of setting ECS for failure!


Yes Fire and he was cheered on by the school board who would not listen to any disagreement because they knew better.


"Certainly an ex Elkhart student does not decide to attend Fairfield or Middlebury or other peripheral school systems without the family moving."

That is exactly what Vouchers allow students to do. Live in one district and attend another. Some of these districts even provide transportation for the out up district student, picking them up in their HOME district ! They absolutely do NOT move as they probably cannot afford to live in that district. If student HAD to remain in their home districts that school system would be that much richer. Hence, as I original said, the voucher system is a major part of the down fall of any lesser desirable school systems budget...Look at SB schools, many of their students have transferred to peripheral systems and they are ready to close schools and high schools, do you really think all those families moved to the South Bend suburbs ?


You need to read the law DingFod. The voucher money is only usable when a student leaves a public school for a private school. And yes DingFod I do believe those students moved to the burbs. I don't know your age but South Bend was once at least 35,000 people larger (1960s). Let me ask you Ding...Wouldn't you want your children to be able to attend a much better school. That's what the voucher system does.


Too many geriatrics running the show. Our new mayor might be able to answer, they created a made-up position for him w/o board approval.


It's a lousy system. There is ZERO accountability. Wrong doings get put under the rug and not addressed. Ironic there's an article out right now about a coach who on multiple occasions has abused his athletes yet is receiving a PROMOTION. I would transfer my kid too they deserve better.


Elkhart Schools are hemorrhaging students at an alarming rate and all the Superintendent can say is that at least it isn’t quite as bad as last year? That kind of sums up the current status of Elkhart schools, no?


You can thank the old school board for that.


NO, you can thank the state legislature and Board of Education for putting the "Voucher" system in to place. That system had done the single most damage to Public education and school finaces in history...


You can blame who you want! Old or new school boards. The state. Which ever excuse you want. The fact is that Elkhart High in the 60s was one of the largest high schools around. The population hovered around 43,000! Elkhart had a starting year senior class of 755. Today, 49 years later, 2 city high schools eclipse the 1970 rate by 85 students, while the city's population is 9000 more! What does that tell you? It says there were thousands that left the city for rural subdivisions. Why? Because there was no land in the city to develop for new housing. There still is no good land to develop for housing in the City!

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