The Iowa Department of Education released its “Annual Condition of Education” report Wednesday, detailing a wide range of information — from student population to test results — for the 2010-2011 school year. The report says statewide enrollment has declined by 29% since peaking at 711,000 in the 1972-73 school year.
But the chief of the department’s Bureau of Information and Analysis Services, Jay Pennington, says the report also predicts a turnaround in enrollment. “We’re seeing increased birth rates which ultimately is the supply that hits the education system at some point, so based on those birth records, we project out that we will see a slight increase in enrollment,” Pennington says.
The increase is projected at 2.4%, and Pennington says it will follow the trends seen in recent Census data. “There are increases in the Des Moines metro area as an example, the Iowa City corridor area… so the surban areas kind of surrounding those metros is where we have seen increases in enrollment,” Pennington says.
The number of school districts dropped last year by two. Pennington says the last school year saw 359 school districts. “What’s not actually in the report is this current academic year, and there were eight consolidations between the two years, so currently in this academic year, there’s only 351,” Pennington explained.
The report says the average salary paid to teachers was $49,626, up slightly in 2010-11 from the year before. The average age of full-time teachers was 42. You can see much more of the data in the report on the Iowa Department of Education’s website at:educateiowa.gov.