Hawaii Public School Enrollment Down 2.6% This Year


Hawaii’s public schools lost 4,627 students in the 2020-21 school year, according to a count of registrations released by the State Department of Education on Friday, a steep drop from figures released around the same time last year.

In the DOE and public charter schools, total enrollments this year peaked at 174,704, down 2.6% from the same period last year. In the 2019-2020 school year, the fall enrollment figure of 179,331 only reflected a 0.2% decrease compared to the previous year.

Although enrollment in public schools across the state has fallen sharply, charter schools, which are run autonomously by independent boards of directors but are still funded by taxpayers, have seen a small increase in fees. registrations this year, from 11,877 in 2019-2020 to 12,213 this school year.

Farrington High is once again one of the state’s largest public schools this year, with an enrollment of 2,365 people. Cory Lum / Civil Beat

The trends have largely remained the same for the state’s largest public schools based on enrollment: Campbell High, Waipahu High, Mililani High, Farrington High, and Maui High have the highest number of students – ranging from 2,100 to over 3,000 – while the largest charter schools by number of students remain Hawaii Technology Academy, Kamaile Academy, Ka Waihona O Ka Naauao, Kihei Charter School and Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Enrollment in the state’s largest charter schools ranges from 711 students to 1,337 students.

The decline in public school enrollment could be attributed to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. More Hawaiian parents have chosen to withdraw their children from DOE schools in favor of home schooling for safety reasons, although the department does not yet have an official count of withdrawals.

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