Public school enrollment down in Southwest Minneapolis

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Public schools in Southwest Minneapolis have lost more students than expected this year, with grades pre-K-12 enrollment down nearly 5% since June, according to Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS).

In the spring, district officials projected that enrollment would decrease by 2.3%, or 279 students, this fall at Southwest Minneapolis schools, in part because of the recently approved Comprehensive District Design (CDD) restructuring plan.

But Southwest Minneapolis enrollment has actually declined by 601 students, or 5%, since June. That has included a 236-student, or 23.8%, decrease in kindergarten enrollment and a 295-student decrease in grades 1-5 enrollment.

The data does not include charter or private schools.

In Linden Hills, kindergarten enrollment at Lake Harriet Lower School has decreased by 57 students, or 39%, since June. That’s the largest single-grade decline in Minneapolis.

The school’s overall enrollment decline of 81 students ranks behind only Burroughs Community School in Lynnhurst and Armatage Montessori School in terms of the greatest decreases. Enrollment at Burroughs has decreased by 82 students, and enrollment at Armatage has decreased by 112 students, though district officials forecasted in the spring that enrollment at the school would drop by 60 students.

Across the Twin Cities, enrollment has declined beyond projections in almost all districts, according to a survey by the Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD).

MPS, for example, has 921 fewer students than expected, including 469 fewer kindergartners. St. Paul Public Schools has 585 fewer students than expected and 198 fewer kindergartners.

Scott Croonquist, executive director of AMSD, said a confluence of factors has contributed to the underwhelming enrollment figures, such as families waiting a year to send a child to kindergarten and families seeking in-person instruction during the pandemic.