DCPS enrollment projected to inch up next year
While there seems to be a brief intermission in the labor contract opera, I thought I might share some other news. D.C. public school enrollment, which showed a less than 1 percent decline in in 2009-2010 after years of steep losses, will creep up ever so slightly in the 2010-2011 academic year, according to new projections.
As forecast by a consortium of think tanks, the student population will rise from 44,718 to 44,882, a gain of 164 students, or .36 percent. While the projected increase is barely a blip, it is encouraging news for a school system that lost 40 percent of its students between 1996 and 2008.
But the news is also qualified by analysts for the 21st Century Schools Fund, who collaborated with the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution on the study. They say DCPS' numbers are being held steady by the District's big investment in preschool and pre-kindergarten programs. Preschool enrollment is forecast to grow more than 12 percent in 2010-2011, from 1,758 to 1,981. Pre-kindergarten population is expected to rise more than 10 percent, from 2,942 to 3247. Many upper grade levels show continued decline, including grades 1-3 (3.3 percent) grades 6-8 (1.4 percent) and 9-12 (1.4 percent).
Public charter schools are projected to continue their brisk growth next year, with a 6.2 percent increase from 27,661 to 29,387.
As I noted on April 4 the projections, done at the request of OSSE by the think tanks, were supposed to have been released April 1 with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's proposed budget. But release was delayed until April 5. No reason was given for the delay. I apologize for my delay in getting around to posting this.
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