The State Board of Education got an early look this week at the annual report on schools that is set to be released next week.

Jason Crowley in the Department of Education’s Bureau of information says the diversity among students has increased in the last 20 years. “Minority, racial, ethnic students make up 26.8% of our K-12 student population in the fall of ’21 — compared to 9.7% of our student population in the fall of 2000,” he says. The largest increases have been in the number of Hispanic students, followed by African Americans.

Crowley says the overall number of students in Iowa schools increased by about one percent in the past 20 years, but there’s been a shift in where those students go to school. “We’ve seen the largest drop in that middle-size district, whereas all of the other district size categories in that 20-year time period have increased a little bit,” he says. There were nearly 28% of the districts in that 600 to 900 student middle range in 2000 — while that dropped to around 22% in the fall of 2021.

The largest districts with 7,500 or more students increased the overall number of students they educate. “In the fall of ’21, eleven percent of our largest districts in the state are educating over half of our student population or about 54% of our student population,” Crowley says. “That’s compared to back into fall 2000, it was about 9% of districts educating about 46% of our student population.”

The school districts on the other end of the spectrum also saw a modest gain in numbers. “A three percent increase for those districts enrolling less than 300 students,” he says. The certified state K-12 enrollment for 20221-2022 is 485,630. The Des Moines school district is the largest with slightly more than 31,000 students, and the smallest is Diagonal, with 109 students.