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Closed schools

Question:
How many public schools in the United States have closed?

Response:
While the total number of public schools in the country has remained between 98,000 and 99,000 in recent years, new schools have opened and some schools have closed. In 2012–13, there were 1,493 school closures. The schools that closed had enrolled about 241,000 students in the prior school year (2011–12). Of the schools that closed, 1,075 were regular schools, 83 were special education schools, 66 were vocational schools, and 269 were alternative schools. The number of schools that closed in 2012–13 was higher than the number in 2000–01 (1,193); however, the number of annual school closures has fluctuated during this period, ranging from around 1,200 to 2,200. School closures do not necessarily reflect the number of school buildings that have been closed, since a school may share a building with another school, or one school may have multiple buildings.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). Digest of Education Statistics, 2014 (NCES 2016-006), Chapter 2.

Number and enrollment of public elementary and secondary schools that have closed, by school level and type:Selected years, 1995–96 through 2012–13
School level and type 1995–96 1999–2000 2000–01 2001–02 2002–03 2003–04 2004–05 2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13
Total, all schools 954 1,180 1,193 1,412 1,368 2,168 1,913 1,553 1,877 2,120 1,515 1,822 1,929 1,840 1,493
School type
Regular 686 970 908 1,018 985 1,248 1,190 1,171 1,348 1,450 1,059 1,321 1,486 1,340 1,075
Special education 110 86 84 118 91 114 271 88 160 195 99 235 72 87 83
Vocational 17 18 17 90 27 33 18 28 14 30 15 11 7 11 66
Alternative1 141 106 184 186 265 773 434 266 355 445 342 255 364 402 269
School level and type
Elementary2 497 559 601 697 721 947 901 770 846 844 769 936 1,073 1,020 776
Regular 449 529 563 648 660 870 847 725 771 804 713 893 1,010 959 726
Special education 28 16 20 21 26 23 25 13 53 20 22 13 18 18 18
Vocational 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
Alternative1 20 14 16 28 35 54 29 31 21 20 33 30 45 43 32
Secondary3 199 300 302 313 245 347 302 342 308 394 368 346 436 451 421
Regular 114 235 173 141 127 144 177 192 171 233 186 212 237 238 204
Special education 12 8 19 12 9 10 4 11 24 19 21 12 15 15 24
Vocational 17 18 14 89 27 33 18 27 13 29 13 11 7 10 64
Alternative1 56 39 96 71 82 160 103 112 100 113 148 111 177 188 129
Combined elementary/secondary4 42 143 146 168 124 158 321 184 193 172 164 91 157 207 170
Regular 10 96 83 76 57 54 68 82 65 65 50 42 74 82 64
Special education 13 17 22 29 22 30 28 38 45 48 34 16 24 34 34
Vocational 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 2
Alternative1 19 30 40 62 45 74 225 64 83 58 79 33 59 90 70
Other (not classified by grade span) 216 178 144 234 278 716 389 257 530 710 214 449 263 162 126
Regular 113 110 89 153 141 180 98 172 341 348 110 174 165 61 81
Special education 57 45 23 56 34 51 214 26 38 108 22 194 15 20 7
Vocational 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Alternative1 46 23 32 25 103 485 77 59 151 254 82 81 83 81 38
All charter schools5 24 72 111 85 74 171 206 267 133 161 189 216 202 183
Prior year enrollment of schools that have closed
Total, enrollment 173,766 187,493 209,228 171,669 195,033 262,183 297,487 229,259 242,388 268,212 243,166 306,806 321,246 300,764 240,704

— Not available.

1Includes schools that provide nontraditional education, address needs of students that typically cannot be met in regular schools, serve as adjuncts to regular schools, or fall outside the categories of regular, special education, or vocational education.

2Includes schools beginning with grade 6 or below and with no grade higher than 8.

3Includes schools with no grade lower than 7.

4Includes schools beginning with grade 6 or below and ending with grade 9 or above.

5Charter schools are also included under the school level and type categories, as appropriate.

NOTE: The closure of a school does not necessarily mean that a building is no longer used for educational purposes. A single school may share a building with another school, or one school may be housed in several buildings.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). Digest of Education Statistics, 2014 (NCES 2016-006), Table 216.95.

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