61,000 Missing Kindergartens Fuel Sharp Drop in California Public School Enrollment

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The pandemic has intensified a multi-year trend of declining enrollment in public schools statewide, causing a sharp drop this year with more than a third of the resulting drop of 61,000 walk-in kindergartens.

Statewide, net enrollment in state-funded K-12 schools in California fell nearly 3% to 160,000 students in 2020-21, the largest drop in 20 years , according to annual data released Thursday by the California Department of Education. The drop takes into account an increase of 22,542 students attending charter schools, who educate about one in nine students in California.

The declining numbers were spread across the state, with the four largest districts accounting for about a sixth of the drop in enrollment. Los Angeles Unified registrations plummeted of 20,841 (4.76%), Long Beach of 2,003 (2.8%), San Diego of 4,270 (4.2%) and Fresno of 909 (1.3%). In the Bay Area, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties both lost more than 3% and Marin fell 4.7%.

There are great variations among the 2291 districts and charter schools in the state. Excluding county education offices, 83% of traditional districts experienced a decline in overall enrollment, compared with just 48% of charter schools.

Read the full story at LATimes.com.


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