Twin Cities school districts grapple with enrollment decline

Published 5:12 pm Friday, November 26, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis and St. Paul public school districts are sorting through tumbling student enrollment this fall as they plan to redesign the districts.

Minneapolis Public Schools saw enrollment drop 7.6% from last year, while St. Paul Public Schools saw a drop of 6.3%, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported. The decline in enrollment means the school districts will lose out on millions of dollars in revenue.

The Minneapolis school district redesigned the district structure this fall, which school officials said led to some students leaving. Eric Moore, the district’s accountability, research and equity officer, also attributed the declining numbers to COVID-19 pandemic and unrest after the death of George Floyd. Charter schools in the area have also drawn students away.

The St. Paul school board is planning to vote next week on a consolidation plan that would close five schools, as well as move staff and students from five others.

The school districts are trying to address concerns about safety and culture in the schools.

School officials acknowledged that the changes may result in losing more students, but they argue they are necessary to ensure that all elementary students have access to an education that includes art, science, music and other subjects taught by specialist teachers.