State School Enrollments Down from 2019, Officials Blame COVID
According to the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, overall enrollment this September in WA State Public Schools is down 2.82 percent.
That may not seem like a lot, but to educators it's considered significant. It's enough that state officials say it could mean less money for schools. The legislature allocates funding through schools based in large part on their numbers. Fewer numbers means less money.
While SPI Chris Reykdal says it's COVID related, others say it's also due to parental doubts and frustration over online learning courses. Others say it's a safety factor.
That is supported by this statistic: the number of students receiving school programs via entirely online programs is up from 30,000 to over 44,000. These are programs delivered outside of the traditional classroom schedule.
Also, kindergarten numbers are way down, in many districts, double digits. It's believed parents are delaying the start of their children's education one more year.
Critics say these numbers will climb significantly unless schools are re-opened soon; as more parents pursue private schools, or alternative online programs.
Some of the hardest 'hit' are the Seattle School District, where kindergarten numbers are down over 13% along with other grades that are down.
We will be looking for numbers from our area districts soon.