LEOKE CITY, Ala.
— The school district in southern Alabama that serves the city of Lincoln is taking action after an investigation found that about 80 percent of its kindergarten students are enrolled in the city’s poorest schools, leaving many of them in “deep poverty.”
A recent review of the district’s financial records revealed that about 8,000 Lincoln Elementary students — most of them African American — are in the lowest-performing public schools, according to an Associated Press report.
Many of them have a parent with low-income or no income, according a spokesperson for the Lincoln Elementary Schools Board of Trustees.
The superintendent, Michael A. Kline, who is white, and district officials did not respond to requests for comment.
A district spokeswoman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, said the district is addressing the issue and will be releasing a report in the coming months on its efforts to address the problem.
Lincoln’s superintendent said the school district will review the data and consider what additional resources are needed.
The district has been working to improve educational outcomes for students in the Lincoln-Canton school district, which is about 30 miles west of Birmingham.
Lincoln has a population of about 14,000 and is home to about 7,000 students.
It’s one of several districts nationwide where low-performing schools have been a concern.
A 2013 investigation by The Associated Press found that nearly 80 percent a citywide school district is “deeply in financial crisis.”
In 2018, Lincoln’s enrollment dropped by about 50 students, the lowest enrollment rate since 2008, when enrollment was at more than 90 percent, according the AP.
That’s in part because the district has struggled with enrollment growth.
Kline said the Lincoln district has spent millions of dollars since the recession to fix and improve schools and has seen a decrease in dropout rates.
He said it’s been working with the state to improve the district, including offering help with student loans.