About 8% fewer students are attending D.C. public schools this fall -- the sharpest yearly drop in enrollment since the District hired an outside auditor in 1999 to verify student numbers. Some 45,135 students now attend D.C. schools versus 49,422 during the 2007-08 school year. Meanwhile, D.C. charter officials are projecting 20% growth, thanks in large part to the recent conversion of seven Catholic schools into secular charters.

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