Editor’s be aware: DPI initially launched inaccurate enrollment knowledge. WUWM up to date this story to mirror the correct numbers.
Enrollment in Wisconsin’s public colleges has not rebounded after a sharp decline in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Division of Public Instruction released preliminary fall 2021 pupil counts Friday. They show a 0.5% drop in conventional public college enrollment this fall — a lack of about 4,000 college students.
That sounds good in comparison with final yr’s unprecedented 3% decline. However it signifies the households who discovered alternate options to conventional public college final yr haven’t returned in giant numbers.
DPI College Monetary Providers Director Dan Bush mentioned this yr’s enrollment patterns are totally on par with pre-pandemic developments.
“What we noticed final yr was actually a sharper decline in public college enrollment than typical and a slowdown within the development of the selection applications,” Bush mentioned. “This yr the shift between the 2 has continued to vary a bit of bit extra, however the general counts truly turned out fairly steady between 2020 and 2021.”
Final yr’s enrollment drop was focused on 4-year-old kindergarten or preK. There was near a 16% decline in 2020. This yr, preK enrollment elevated by about 7% however kindergarten stayed comparatively flat with a 0.7% enhance.
Milwaukee Public Colleges noticed a fair steeper enrollment decline this yr than in 2020. Enrollment dropped 3% in 2020 and 5% this fall. That is a lack of about 6,000 college students because the pandemic began.
Superintendent Keith Posley mentioned in a press convention Friday that the district has lower about 80 vacant positions and shifted about 40 academics to completely different colleges due to this yr’s enrollment decline.
“There’s some colleges that gained virtually 200 college students, there’s some colleges that have been possibly down 100 college students,” Posley mentioned. “We’ve got to ensure now we have employees the place now we have college students. You might have began out at Rufus King, and now your providers could also be wanted at Milwaukee College of Languages.”
DPI additionally launched knowledge on personal colleges that take part within the publicly-funded selection applications. Their enrollment elevated this yr by 6.6%. A lot of that was within the newer Wisconsin Parental Choice and Special Needs Scholarship programs, moderately than the older Racine and Milwaukee applications.
Unbiased constitution colleges noticed probably the most development this yr. Six new colleges opened in that group and enrollment went up greater than 15%.
Scholar counts play a serious function in class funding. Colleges with sharp declines will see the consequences of their budgets this yr and in years to come back.
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