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Utah reports student enrollment decline for the first time in 20 years

Nov. 6, 2020
Many families have turned to homeschooling and online education, state figures indicate.

Utah’s public school enrollment has declined for the first time since 2000, according to data from the State Board of Education.

The Deseret News reports that the state head count conducted on Oct. 1 was 665,306 students, down 0.23% from a year ago.

Kindergarten enrollment dropped statewide by nearly 4%, representing 1,457 fewer students. The last time kindergarten enrollment was this low was in 2010.

With the exception of second grade, all lower grades showed a decline in growth

The data also indicates a sharp increase in online school enrollment, a single year increase of 80%, up from 14,755 in 2019 to 26,605 in 2020.

Numbers of children who transferred to home schooling tripled this fall compared with a year ago. Last fall, 914 transferred compared with 3,375 this fall.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson says enrollment counts are especially important this year as schools contend with effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In addition to our annual Oct. 1 head count, the Utah State Board of Education is taking additional enrollment counts throughout the year to help the state, districts and charter schools keep track of students in this environment,” Dickson says.

Alpine School District remains Utah’s largest school district with 80,953, down 1% from a year ago, followed by Davis at 70,643, which had a 3% decline in enrollment.

Next were Granite School District with 61,851 students, a decline of 3%, and Jordan School District at 56,102, down only 237 students from a year ago.

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