The state Education Department reports enrollment is down this fall in Iowa schools. The agency’s Kathi Slaughter says preliminary figures show a drop of about 16-hundred students statewide, out of total enrollment just over 483-thousand students.Public school enrollment’s been going down slightly for the past 5 or 6 years, and she says planners expect to see that very gradual decline continue for several years. It’s not as simple as the growing-up of the “baby boom,” or that generation’s kids in turn — Slaughter says it’s linked to a general decline in the number of children families are having.She says the primary reason’s fewer births, and most of the population increase we do see comes from immigration into the state. Slaughter says there’s no urban or rural trend in the student loss. The department sees big gains from time to time in both large and small districts, and sometimes big losses in big districts and small ones, so there’s no real pattern to which will grow in number and which ones will lose students. The typical migration to metro areas won’t always explain the change in school enrollment, but Slaughter says there are some factors affecting population. Economic-development will bring new families to a city and that will mean more students for its schools, but that usually only lasts a year or two and then they leave. She adds there’s no real formula for who’s going to grow, who will decline. This year saw the biggest gains in mostly urban areas, several of them in central Iowa including Waukee, Ankeny, Johnston and Southeast Polk school districts. But Des Moines itself lost students and so did West Des Moines, Davenport, Council Bluffs, and Ames.
You are here: / / Education Department says school enrollment is down