(WKBN) – On Thursday, Mahoning County Auditor Ralph Meacham released figures that show while the number of students in all of the county’s 14 school districts has fallen, the cost per pupil in every district has gone up.

According to Meacham, from 2019 to 2021, student enrollment — in all the Mahoning County school districts combined — fell 3.9 percent. West Branch lost the most at 8.2 percent followed by South Range and Sebring. Campbell lost the fewest students at less than 1 percent.

At the same time, the average cost per pupil has risen 7.5 percent, with Sebring up the most at 10.1 percent followed by Poland and Boardman. Struthers rose the least at 2.9 percent.

Meacham called this trend a bad thing.

“At what point does it make sense to look at the structure of our educational system here? Do we continue to go at it alone or do we combine with other districts?” he asked.

Austintown Superintendent Dave Cappuzzello said, “Consolidating schools — that’s an animal in itself. Consolidating services – yes!”

The following is a list of enrollment declines vs. cost per pupil increases for all 14 Mahoning County school districts in 2019-2021.

WEST BRANCH: -8.3%/+8%
SOUTH RANGE: -7.1%/+7.7%
SEBRING: -6.6%/+10.1%
AUSTINTOWN: -5.1%/+6.5%
STRUTHERS: -3.9%/+2.9%
BOARDMAN: -3%/+8.7%
YOUNGSTOWN: -2.8%/+8.6%
POLAND: -2.5%/+9.7%
CANFIELD: -2.2%/+7%
JACKSON-MILTON: -1.9%/+6.6%
LOWELLVILLE: -1.4%/+5.9%
CAMPBELL: -0.8%/+7%