Foreclosure's effect on Baltimore schoolchildren
About 2,400 children attending Baltimore public schools lived in homes in foreclosure during the 2008-2009 academic year, up more than 20 percent from five years earlier, according to a new analysis by the Baltimore Neighborhoods Indicator Alliance.
It's not necessarily about their parents' failure to pay. Half the students whose homes were in foreclosure proceedings lived in rentals, a marked change from the pre-crisis years. In 2003, 2004 and 2005, less than 30 percent of foreclosure starts involved rented homes, according to the analysis, done by Matthew Kachura with the University of Baltimore-based alliance. (The research was conducted for the Open Society Institute.)
Above: a map showing the areas where foreclosures and public-school students intersected. Almost every school had at least one affected student in the 2008-09 year, but certain parts of the city have taken the brunt of the wallop.
Two schools -- Brehms Lane Elementary in the Belair-Edison area and Patterson High -- each had more than 50 students whose homes were in foreclosure during the 2008-09 academic year. (That amounts to 7 percent of the elementary school's enrollment and just over 3.5 percent of the high school's.)
Why does this matter? As the University of Baltimore put it in a press release, "more Baltimore homes in foreclosure translates into more students facing an uncertain future—one in which they may have to switch schools, move in with relatives, or leave the city altogether."
Kachura, the report's author, is particularly concerned that the largest percentage of affected students are in ninth grade, a critical point in the K-12 continuum. An unsettled housing situation could prompt more to drop out, he says.
The even split between foreclosure proceedings started on parent-homeowners vs. parent-renters might seem bizarre. But many investors rushed into the city during the bubble years and got into trouble later, sometimes because their tenants didn't pay but other times because the investors overextended themselves. Many renters -- with and without children -- have found themselves on the wrong side of an eviction notice as a result.