School enrollment dips, despite population growth

Fewer students than expected enrolled in peninsula schools this year.

In its FY 2020 preliminary enrollment report to the state of Alaska, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District recorded 8,537 students during a 20-day count period this fall — 143 fewer students than the 8,681 students originally projected for the school year, according to district’s five-year enrollment report, published in November and shared in Monday’s school board agenda.

For FY 2021, the enrollment is expected to be slightly higher — 8,573 students. In FY 2022, enrollment is projected to grow to 8,620 students. The district is again projecting growth for FY 2023 with an estimated enrollment of 8,685 students. Student enrollment in projected to be 8,713 in FY 2024.

In FY 2025, however, enrollment is projected to drop to 8,685 students. Student enrollment has decreased despite a growth in population in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Between 2009 and 2018, borough population grew 10.34%, but in that same time period, district enrollment fell 3.99%, according to the five-year enrollment report.

Enrollment in the district hit a peak in 1998 with 10,384 students. During that year, enrollment was about 21% of the borough total population, but that percentage has declined to 15% of the total population.

Figures in the five-year enrollment report were obtained by the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.

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