More than 150 schools have been shuttered in Puerto Rico in the last five years as economic conditions have worsened. Over the past decade, hundreds of thousands of people have left the island for the U.S. mainland.
The Associated Press reports that the loss of so many schools is having a profound impact on communities in Puerto Rico, forcing many children to commute to new campuses and creating a blight in places already hard-hit by recession.
The government says the situation could get much worse. It warns that by early 2016 it may run out of money, and over the next five years it may have to close nearly 600 of the 1,460 public schools that once existed to save $249 million a year.
Puerto Rico has seen school enrollment drop 42 percent in the past three decades, and an additional 22 percent drop is expected over the next five years, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group.