(Source: MIRS.news, Published 04/11/23) K-12 student enrollment in Michigan schools is down more than 6,000 students, according to numbers presented to the State Board of Education Tuesday.
The drop continues a trend of fewer students attending Michigan public schools, although the decrease is the smallest Michigan has seen since 2013.
“For more than a decade prior to the pandemic, Michigan’s population has been declining and with it K-12 enrollment,” said Office of Analytics and Reporting Director Mike McGroarty.
There were fewer students entering private schools or homeschools than during the pandemic. Roughly 2,500 students exited the public school system in 2022 for homeschool or private school, compared to about 1,250 each year prior to the pandemic.
He said the average decline, prior to the pandemic, was 0.8% per year, or about 10,000 students, and the 2022-2023 school year seemed to stabilize after the large declines seen during the 2020 and 2021 school years.
The 2021-2022 school year saw an increase of nearly 6,000 students after nearly 62,000 left the school system during the 2020-2021 school year.
The overall population aged between five to 17 increased for the first time since 2010.
This was reflected in pre-K enrollment increasing by 6.2% to near pre-pandemic levels with more than 46,000 children. In the 2019-2020 school year there were more than 47,500 children.
The special education program dropped 60 students across the state during the 2022-2023 year.
“This is a smaller population, so changes in percentages will seem more volatile,” McGroarty said.
He said the special education program has stayed within a couple hundred students of the population, even with the biggest drop of nearly 300 students in 2020 during the pandemic.
Enrollment in charter schools saw a 0.1% increase, which was on par with the trend seen prior to the pandemic. The largest shift to charter schools was seen in 2020, with a 0.5% increase and a gain of about 2,000 students.
Fully virtual schools saw the largest decline with a nearly 5,000-student drop, but the number enrolled was still higher than prior to the pandemic.
“The story that you’re telling me is that we hit some bumps and we’re starting to recover,” said Board Member Mitchell Robinson.