Public school enrollment is dropping in both large and small districts, NPR reports, with enrollment at the kindergarten level down an average of 16%. The trend is consistent across low-income, affluent, urban and rural districts, marking a reversal of the slow, steady increase in public school enrollment over the last 15 years.
Enrollment declines are especially steeper for kindergarten and pre-K, and the trend could cost districts money, as many receive state funds based on their number of students.
Many of the country’s largest districts began the year remotely. In Los Angeles, the biggest kindergarten enrollment drops are taking place in the poorest neighborhoods — which could be due to the fact there is often no full-time learning support at home for the youngest learners.
The uncertainty makes budget planning difficult. Enrollment numbers are one of the variables sending districts “in various states of limbo” with their finances, Marguerite Roza, director of Georgetown’s Edunomics Lab, an education finance research center, told Education Dive in late September.
Kevin Brown, executive director of the Texas Association of School Administrators, told Education Dive…